Support our Nation today - please donate here

Johnson gets £510,000 advance as taxpayers face rising legal bill for partygate legal bill

26 Jan 2023 4 minute read
Photo issued by the Cabinet Office showing the then prime minister Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street for the departure of a special adviser, which was released with the publication of Sue’s Gray report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown.

Boris Johnson has picked up an advance of more than £500,000 for his forthcoming memoir, as it emerged taxpayers face a bill of £222,000 for his legal fees to defend himself in the partygate inquiry.

The former prime minister’s latest entry in the Register of Members’ Interests says that he “received £510,000 as an advance on an upcoming book yet to be published” – even though he has so far done just 10 hours work on it.

It follows the announcement by publishers HarperCollins earlier this month that they had acquired the rights to what was described as a prime ministerial memoir “like no other”.

Earlier MPs were told the estimated legal bill – to be paid by the taxpayer – for lawyers representing him in the Commons inquiry into whether he lied over lockdown parties in No 10 has risen to £222,000.

Solicitors firm Peters and Peters was awarded a contract worth £129,700 in August 2022 to provide Mr Johnson with advice during the investigation into his conduct by the Privileges Committee.

However, giving evidence to the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm said the amount had gone up due to the length of the inquiry.

“We hope and expect that will be a maximum figure but obviously we don’t want to anticipate and certainly could not regulate the conduct of the committee, which is entirely up to them,” he said.

Personal finances

It comes as Mr Johnson’s personal finances have come under renewed scrutiny following the disclosure that BBC chairman Richard Sharp helped him secure a reported loan facility of up to £800,000 shortly before Mr Sharp was appointed to the post.

The Public Appointments Commissioner William Shawcross is to conduct an inquiry into whether the rules were properly followed, while Mr Sharp has been recalled to appear before the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee over evidence he gave at a pre-appointment hearing.

Mr Sharp has said there was no impropriety and that the selection process was done “by the book”.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said taxpayers should not have to “write a blank cheque” to subsidise Mr Johnson’s defence fund.

” Hundreds of thousands has already been wasted on legal fees for this disgraced former PM but Rishi Sunak is once again too weak to put a stop to it,” she said.

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain called for taxpayer support for Mr Johnson’s legal fees to end.

New low

She said: “While the British people battle with a cost-of-living crisis, this Conservative Government seems more interested in helping Boris Johnson with his cost-of-lying crisis.

“This is a sleazy new low for this Government, dragging politics into the gutter.

“People will be outraged that hundreds of thousands of pounds of their money will be used to defend a lying lawbreaker who disgraced the office of prime minister.

“(Prime Minister) Rishi Sunak needs to step in immediately, stop this fund and apologise for his Government’s chaotic track record of defending the indefensible.”

The Privileges Committee is investigating whether the former prime minister committed contempt of Parliament by telling the Commons on several occasions that there were no lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

The contract with Peters and Peters has already paid for legal advice from leading KC Lord Pannick, who has produced two opinions on the inquiry.

The first was published on the Government’s website in September 2022 and said the Privileges Committee was adopting an “unfair procedure” and a “fundamentally flawed” approach.

This opinion was rejected by the Privileges Committee, which said it was based on “a systemic misunderstanding of the parliamentary process and misplaced analogies with the criminal law”.

Lord Pannick’s second opinion has not been made public.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

If you get pulled up with a half O of weed in your pocket or you’ve shoplifted some Krave for your kids because you are skint or couldn’t pay your council tax or something similar, does legal aid cover the kind of representation Boris Johnson is getting for this money? It’s one grand to even think about trying to take your employer to court….most solicitors just encourage people to plead guilty, no matter whether the client believes they are guilty or not…..It’s not one law for them and another for you, it’s all the laws for them, the law protects… Read more »

1 year ago

He thoughoughly deserves the half mill – knowledge of bizarre historical facts, went to Eton, friends with lots of rich people, loads of kids with loads of different ladies, a modern day Winston Churchill …. and he’s a really funny guy with wild blonde hair!

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
1 year ago

Parasite (n.): a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

1 year ago

Getting seriously fed up reading about this t**t and his bizarre sense of entitlement and the willingness of others to feed it. Next time he goes to Ukraine perhaps a wayward rocket might find its way to a good home!

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
1 year ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Alternatively, make sure he buys a single, not a return ticket

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.