Published On: Thu, Jul 27th, 2023

Boris Johnson urged to pay back taxpayers for his Partygate legal fees | Politics | News

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged by the majority of readers to pay the taxpayer back for his Partygate legal fees, a new poll has shown.

Figures published by the Cabinet Office last week showed Mr Johnson’s legal representation in the Privileges Committee Parytgate probe cost a total of £265,522.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner called out Mr Johnson for using taxpayer funds to cover the cost.

She said: “At the height of a cost of living crisis, Rishi Sunak has stood by and watched as the disgraced former Prime Minister milks the taxpayer to the tune of a quarter of a million pounds to prop up his Partygate denials.

“This is a spineless Prime Minister, too weak to put a stop to this unprecedented and unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money or force his predecessor to hand back taxpayers’ money.”

In response, ran a poll from 5pm on Tuesday, July 25, to 3.30pm on Thursday, July 27, asking readers: “Should Boris Johnson pay back his Partygate legal fees?”

A total of 2,064 readers responded with the vast majority of readers, 70 percent (1,430 people) answering “yes – he should pay” compared with 30 percent (610 people) who said “no – taxpayers should pay”. A further 24 people said they did not know.

In the comments left below the accompanying article, readers shared their thoughts on who should foot the bill.

Many readers agreed with Ms Rayner that Mr Johnson should not be using taxpayer money for his legal fees, with username gettingwarmerinyorkshire remarking: “Most definitely.”

Similarly, username leafspot said: “Of course he should, I was shocked to find out we were paying in the first place. Politicians have got some nerve [in] the way they use the public purse as a personal bank.”

Another, username Brilly, said: “Of course Boris should pay back taxpayer’s money, can’t say no more.”

And username sendemback added: “Of course he should pay, why should you and I pay for him.”

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Whereas other readers argued that Mr Johnson was entitled to use taxpayer money. Username shutupayouface1 said: “It’s really a very simple answer. No!”

Username Ricky1954 agreed, writing: “No, the British taxpayer is more than happy to pay Boris’s legal fees.”

A Government spokesman said: “There is an established precedent across multiple administrations based on the principle that former ministers may be supported with legal representation after they have left office when matters relate to their time and conduct as a minister.”

They continued: “The contract for the provision of legal support to the now former prime minister has been extended for a final time in accordance with the proper procurement processes.

“This is to cover previous additional work in relation to the Privileges Committee inquiry. The contract expires today and the final costs of the total legal support will not exceed this amount.”

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