Watchdog criticises decision to pay Johnson's 265,000 Partygate bill

2023-09-19 14:34:00  • 4 mins

By Joshua Nevett

BBC Politics

The government's justification for footing a 265,000 bill for Boris Johnson's Partygate inquiry legal fees has been criticised by the spending watchdog.

An inquiry by MPs found the former prime minister had deliberately misled Parliament over lockdown parties during the pandemic.

The top lawyers helping Mr Johnson were paid for with taxpayer funds.

The government has repeatedly defended using public money to cover the costs.

But following its inspection of government accounts, the National Audit Office (NAO) said it was not convinced by the reasoning behind the decision, saying it was not "wholly persuasive".

In an audit opinion, the government's spending watchdog said due process was not followed when signing off the money for Mr Johnson's lawyers.

  • I've been forced out over Partygate, says Boris Johnson
  • Johnson faces calls to pay back Partygate legal bill
  • Cabinet Office defends Johnson's Partygate legal bill

As the BBC reported earlier this year, the Cabinet Office did not seek Treasury sign-off before deciding to pay for the bill with public money.

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