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Boris Johnson boasted about ignoring parking fines: ‘What did I care?’

‘I let them pile in drifts’, Johnson wrote in unearthed passage – as minister compares Partygate fine to parking offence

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 19 April 2022 15:32 BST
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson (PA)

Boris Johnson “eluded” the law by ignoring parking ticket fines during his days at Oxford University, according to his own book on motoring.

The prime minister admitted he let tickets pile up until they “disintegrated” in his 2007 book Life in the Fast Lane: The Johnson Guide to Cars.

It comes as a cabinet minister sparked outrage after suggesting that the prime minister’s fine for breaking Covid laws was similar receiving speeding tickets.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis said senior figures had received parking and speeding fines. “That clearly has happened with a number of ministers over the years,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

In an unearthed passage from his book on cars, Mr Johnson said he used the rain “as a means of eluding the law” while at Oxford by letting the tickets disintegrate – suggesting Belgian registration plates meant he could ignore them.

“My favourite parking spot was on the yellow lines by the squash courts in Jowett Walk and sometimes, it is true, I got a ticket. But what did I care? The Stallion had Belgian plates,” he wrote.

“What were the poor parkies going to do? Contact Interpol? … Ha, I snapped my finger at the parking tickets. I let them pile in drifts against the windscreen ... until the fines just disintegrated in the rain.”

Sir Keir Starmer ridiculed claims that the PM’s Partygate fine was as minor as a speeding offence and said Tory MPs should be “ashamed” of defending him.

The Labour leader told ITV’s Lorraine: “I have never had anybody break down in front of me because they couldn’t drive at 35mph in a 30mph zone; I have had no end of people in tears – in real bits – about complying with rules that really, really hurt them.”

The prime minister is reportedly ready to make a “full-throated apology” to MPs on Tuesday after paying a fine issued by police for attending a birthday bash in breach of Covid laws.

Mr Johnson – along with his wife Carrie Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak – were fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending his birthday party in the Cabinet room in June 2020.

Meanwhile, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has allowed MPs to vote on a Labour motion this Thursday on whether the PM should face an investigation over claims he misled parliament over Covid rule breaches.

Labour is understood to be wording the motion to make Thursday’s vote about whether to refer Mr Johnson to the Committee of Privileges. The committee has the power to summon reports and documents.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey urged Tory MPs to “do their patriotic duty” by rebelling in Thursday’s vote on the PM’s conduct.

A Labour source: “Any Conservative MP considering voting to block this investigation would be voting for a cover-up. They should reflect on the mess they got themselves into over Owen Paterson before falling into line.”

The ministerial code states that ministers who “knowingly mislead parliament” will be expected to offer their resignation.

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