Boris Johnson issued with court judgment over unpaid debt

Bill to unknown creditor remains ‘unsatisfied’ six months after court ruling

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 12 May 2021 16:18
Today's daily politics briefing

Boris Johnson has been issued with a court judgment over an unpaid debt of £535, it has been revealed.

Listings of county court judgments for last October include a finding against “Boris Johnson, 10 Downing Street”.

The record, uncovered by Private Eye magazine and seen by The Independent, showed that the debt is still “unsatisfied” more than six months later.

No details of the nature of the unpaid debt or the identity of the creditor were revealed.

But it is normally the case that wrangles over unpaid debts do not reach the county court until considerable effort has been made to secure payment.

The debt was incurred on 26 October, around the time that news surfaced of Mr Johnson’s problems funding the refurbishment of his 11 Downing Street flat, the estimated cost of which was £200,000.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson was unable to give details of the debt, saying that Downing Street officials were “looking into” the circumstances.

But the spokesperson added: “It is nothing to to do with the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat, where all such bills have been duly paid either by the government or the prime minister personally.”

The issuing of a county court judgment (CCJ) allows a creditor to commission bailiffs to obtain payment.

Official guidance warns that CCJs will kept on file for six years unless the full amount is paid within a month, and that it may be hard to obtain credit during this period.

People with judgments against them can be taken back to court and forced to pay the money.

Screengrab of county court judgment against Boris Johnson, taken on 12 May 2021

“Banks and loan companies use this information to decide whether to give you credit or loans,” states the official guidance.

“If you pay the full amount within one month, you can get the judgment removed from the register.

“If you pay after one month, you can get the record of the judgment marked as ‘satisfied’ in the register.

It will stay on the register for six years but people searching the register will see that you’ve paid.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “The issue of debt when it comes to the prime minister is whatever debt of gratitude Boris Johnson owes to the Tory donor who paid to renovate his flat, and what this donor or donors were promised or expected in return for their generosity.

That debt is more important than Boris Johnson’s personal finances. His record speaks for itself that he has already broken the rules on declaring his financial interests, and he is already under investigation regarding potentially illegal wrongdoing.”

Labour MP Lyn Brown said: “We’re still locking women up and ruining lives for non-payment of debts because of poverty. Yet we apparently have a prime minister so financially incontinent he’s in breach of court orders, and we’re just supposed to accept this?”

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