Boris Johnson wanted £150,000 treehouse at Chequers, say reports

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<span>Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Boris Johnson planned to build a £150,000 treehouse for his son at Chequers but was stopped when police raised security concerns, it has been reported.

The prime minister and his wife, Carrie Johnson, wanted to install the structure during autumn 2020, according to a report in the Times. But they were forced to scrap the plans for the treehouse – which would have been built using expensive bulletproof glass – due to concerns it would be visible from the roadside, it has been claimed.

It is understood there were discussions about the project being funded by David Brownlow, a Tory donor, and that designs had been prepared.

The proposals were cancelled after Johnson’s close protection officers raised security concerns. However, Downing Street sources claimed the prime minister was also warned about the optics of spending £150,000 on a treehouse.

It was far from certain whether permission would have been granted by the Chequers Trust, the body that runs the Buckinghamshire manor house, due to the number of protected trees surrounding Chequers.

Johnson refused to comment on the claims in an interview with journalists travelling with him in Rwanda, where he is attending a Commonwealth leaders summit. He said: “I’m not going to comment on non-existent objects or non-existent jobs to do with my family,” he said.

A government spokesperson said there was currently no treehouse at Chequers, nor were there any plans for one to be built in the future. They added: “We do not comment on private or family matters which do not involve any ministerial declarations or taxpayer funds.”

Related: Boris Johnson says speculation over his future is driving British people ‘nuts’

It is not the first time the prime minister and his wife’s home improvement plans have caused controversy. Fresh from his landslide election win in December 2019, the couple pressed ahead with renovating the residence they inherited from Theresa and Philip May.

The renovation, under the high-end designer Lulu Lytle, cost at least £112,000, and included gold-coloured wallpaper and fittings.

The Electoral Commission opened an investigation into whether a £52,000 donation from Lord Brownlow’s company, Huntswood Associates Ltd, had been declared properly. It concluded the donation was not declared properly and fined the party £17,000. Johnson later repaid the money.

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