Rishi Sunak has had the electricity network in his constituency upgraded - so he could heat his private swimming pool. According to a report by The Guardian, the prime minister paid for extra capacity from the National Grid at his own expense to supply his constituency home in Richmond, North Yorkshire.
The paper alleges the engineers installed equipment and a new connection to the Grid that runs across open fields. This comes after he spent thousands of pounds to upgrade the massive property with a new heated pool, gym, and tennis court.
Although there is no evidence that he has committed any wrongdoing, the news comes just days after a senior Conservative urged the government to provide more funding for council-run swimming pools in response to rising energy costs.
Damian Green, who was Theresa May’s deputy when she was prime minister, said in the Commons last week: “Will ministers join me in urging their cabinet colleagues to allow public pools to have the support available to other sectors to enable them to continue to play their essential role in keeping people healthy?”
Sports minister Stuary Andrew said: “I am acutely aware of the difficulties that are being felt. But they’re in different parts of the country, and that is why we are taking time to have a look at exactly where those specific problems are, what measures we may be able to take to introduce some help and support.
“But I think the other thing to think about is that some of these buildings are very old and they are very expensive to run. So we perhaps need to look at a longer-term solution as well. The multiple questions that I’ve had on this today certainly help my case and my discussions with other colleagues across Government.”
Sunak purchased the home for £1.5 million in 2015, shortly after becoming the representative for the Richmond constituency. He regularly visits the house but he frequently opts for a privately funded helicopter trip from London to nearby Northallerton instead of the direct train service.
According to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the prime minister declined to comment on the works at his constituency home when contacted. However, developers and businesses often pay for the grid to be upgraded during construction of new buildings.