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UK's Johnson yet to pay debt despite court order

UK's Johnson yet to pay debt despite court order

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for a debate on the Queen Speech at House of Commons in London, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose personal finances are under scrutiny after several scandals, has failed to pay a small debt nearly seven months after a court order, documents showed on Wednesday (May 12).

An online database of civil county court judgments in England and Wales showed Johnson has yet to settle the debt of £535 (US$754) following a ruling on Oct 26 last year.

The judgment, confirmed by AFP and first reported by the fortnightly satirical and news magazine Private Eye, does not reveal details about the nature of the debt or the creditor.

Johnson is named as the debtor and lists his address as 10 Downing Street - the home of prime ministers since 1735 and one of the country's best-known residences.

READ: UK watchdog launches probe into makeover of PM's flat

The 56-year-old leader's spokesman told reporters that his office was "looking into this issue currently".

"I can confirm it's nothing to do with the refurbishment of the Downing Street estate, where all such bills have been duly paid, either by the government or the prime minister personally," he said.

Johnson's finances have been increasingly in the spotlight in recent weeks, in part over the reportedly lavish makeover of his Downing Street flat.

The Electoral Commission, which regulates party and election finance, is probing how he paid for the works following reports that a wealthy Conservative backer donated £58,000 which was not declared correctly.

Johnson insists he has paid for the refurbishment's costs on top of an annual government allowance, and denied any wrongdoing.

But the issue is also being investigated by several other watchdogs and officials.

Britain's Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is meanwhile probing how he paid for a luxury Caribbean holiday in late 2019.

And newspapers reported earlier this month that Conservative donors were approached to cover the cost of a nanny for Johnson's 1-year-old son Wilfred.

 

READ: 'Cautious hugging' and pints: UK PM Johnson to ease England's COVID-19 lockdown

Media reports said he was struggling with his finances since becoming prime minister, after having to give up previously lucrative roles as a newspaper columnist and after-dinner speaker.

Johnson is reportedly already on a "last warning" from parliament's standards committee following numerous previous breaches of its code of conduct for lawmakers, which could lead to his suspension from the House of Commons.

In 2019 he was found to have withheld details of a property he partly owned in southwest England.

The previous year officials deemed he was late registering his financial interests on four occasions involving nine payments, according to The Times.

Asked if Johnson had any other unpaid debts, his press secretary said: "You should not be concerned, no."

Source: AFP/aj

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