Boris Johnson pictured campaigning with Tory councillor linked to ‘furlough fraud’

In March, North Tyneside Conservatives were accused of abusing the furlough scheme

Boris Johnson speaking at a desk

Prime minister Boris Johnson has been pictured campaigning with a Tory councillor who stands accused of having links to a case of furlough fraud.

The Mirror reports that Johnson was seen campaigning with Lewis Bartoli on Monday in North Tyneside and that ‘HM Revenue and Customs are aware of allegations that a staffer continued to work for North Tyneside Conservative Federation – “under” Mr Bartoli – while being furloughed during the pandemic’.

The allegations and embarrassing story come at a time when Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also vowed to claw back some of the money the government has lost to bounce-back loan fraud. It’s estimated that the Treasury has lost a total of £4.9 billion to bounce-back loan fraud, with as much as £17 billion of the £47 billion unlikely to be ever paid back.

In March, North Tyneside Conservatives were accused of abusing the furlough scheme, with allegations the group took taxpayers’ cash and kept a member of staff working during the pandemic.

During Prime Minister’s Questions North Tyneside Labour MP Mary Glindon put to Boris Johnson that “furlough was claimed for a member of party staff even though he continued to work”.

ChronicleLive reported that a ‘member of the party’s North Tyneside team continuing to organise social media posts and administrative tasks, despite being furloughed’.

The Mirror reports that it’s seen a letter to a complainant in which Northumbria Police say that they ‘have recorded a crime of fraud following an accusation in relation” to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but will not be investigating this further’.

Bartoli told the paper that he denies all of the allegations.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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