Watchdog criticises decision to pay Boris Johnsons 265,000 Partygate legal bill

Logo The GuardianThe Guardian
2023-09-19 17:19:50  • 3 mins

A top civil servant failed to follow proper processes when they allowed taxpayers money to be used to fund Boris Johnsons Partygate legal bills, the UKs public spending watchdog has found.

The Cabinet Offices justifications for the 265,000 spend were also deemed to be borderline and not wholly persuasive by the National Audit Office (NAO).

In a report that will cause embarrassment inside the Cabinet Office, Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said its audit team had exerted significant effort to investigate whether the spending was a legitimate use of public money.

The controversial decision allowed Johnson to have his legal fees during the privileges committee inquiry into his Partygate denials covered by the taxpayer.

It was criticised at the time by some, including the Labour party, which said that given Johnson was making millions from his post-Downing Street career, he should have paid the bill himself.

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