Boris Johnson has been told that he will be spared a potentially damaging investigation by the parliamentary standards commissioner over the redecoration of his Downing Street flat, The Telegraph understands.
A Whitehall source said No 10 was informed last week that Kathryn Stone, who polices the conduct of MPs, had decided not to open a fresh inquiry following separate probes completed by the Electoral Commission and Lord Geidt, the independent adviser on ministers' interests.
Leading Tories, including senior ministers, had feared that an investigation by Ms Stone could result in Mr Johnson being suspended from the Commons if he was found guilty of a breach of the Commons code of conduct. Last month one strategist said that there was no "bigger threat on the horizon" for Mr Johnson, amid already widespread backbench discontent with his leadership.
Mr Johnson's aides are believed to have insisted that the funding of the redecoration by Lord Brownlow , a Conservative donor, was not a matter for Ms Stone because it related principally to the Prime Minister's behaviour as a minister – which is policed by Lord Geidt.
However, Labour has insisted that Ms Stone should open an "immediate investigation" into Mr Johnson's conduct, having previously indicated that she would await a report by the Commission – which was published last month – before deciding whether to open her own inquiry.
In a letter to Ms Stone on Dec 9, Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader, insisted that Mr Johnson was "in flagrant breach" of both the ministerial code and the Commons code of conduct.
If Ms Stone had opened an investigation and found Mr Johnson guilty of a serious breach of the rules, the Commons standards committee, chaired by Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, could have recommended his suspension from Parliament, in a situation that one former government aide said would have forced the Prime Minister's resignation.
Mr Johnson had previously been criticised by Ms Stone for failing to promptly explain how a trip to Mustique was funded.
The decision comes after Lord Geidt accused No 10 of showing him "insufficient respect", in correspondence with the Prime Minister. In an exchange published last week, the peer rebuked Mr Johnson and his advisers for failing to disclose a WhatsApp exchange between the Prime Minister and Lord Brownlow.
The messages surfaced in the Electoral Commission report, which led to the body fining the Conservative Party £17,800 for breaking donation rules over the financing of the refurbishment of the flat above No 11 Downing Street, where Mr Johnson lives with his family.
Lord Geidt, who exonerated Mr Johnson last year, said he "doubted" he would still have been able to conclude "without qualification" that the Prime Minister had declared the donation correctly had he seen the messages at the time of the investigation.
When the messages were finally published last week, it emerged that Mr Johnson had agreed to consider Lord Brownlow's plans to hold a new Great Exhibition festival, 170 years after the first was held in London. He told Lord Brownlow: "[I] am on the great exhibition plan…will revert".
Three months later, Lord Brownlow met Oliver Dowden, the then Culture Secretary, and representatives from the Royal Albert Hall to discuss the plan.
In his response to Lord Geidt's letter, Mr Johnson offered a "humble and sincere apology" that he had been "put in this position" but insisted that "security issues" relating to his old phone meant he did not "have access to my previous device and did not recall the message exchange".
A spokesman for Ms Stone said: "We do not comment on the conduct of individual MPs."
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