Downing Street is “looking into” reports Boris Johnson has a county court judgment for an unpaid debt of £535.
Private Eye reported on Wednesday that the official register for CCJs in England and Wales shows the prime minister was served with a notice of the judgment in October 26, 2020.
But No. 10 suggested Johnson had been unaware of the debt, with his official spokesman telling reporters at a briefing: “We are looking into this specific issue that has been raised this morning.”
A search of the county court judgments database shows the “unsatisfied record” registered to Johnson at “10 Downing Street”.
The official court records do not state who the creditor is, nor the nature of the debt.
The judgment was issued less than a fortnight after a Conservative donor told the party he was donating £58,000 in relation to refurbishments at Johnson’s Downing Street flat.
No. 10 denied there was any connection between the CCJ and the flat revamp.
When pressed about whether the PM, as first lord of the Treasury, was capable of running the British economy, his official spokesman said: “I think our record on the economy is very clear.”
His press secretary was also asked whether the PM had further personal finance problems, and she said: “You should not be concerned.”
The government’s website warns that bailiffs can be sent if judgments are not paid.
Banks and loan companies can also use the information to decide whether to issue credit or loans.
“If you’re late with your payments, you could be taken back to court and you may have to pay extra costs,” the website adds.
County court judgments can be issued if someone takes court action against an individual and they do not respond.
The judgment means the court has formally decided the money is owed, according to the government site.
The PM has faced numerous questions about his finances as the Electoral Commission investigates whether any donation was properly declared.
Johnson has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he personally paid for the lavish refurbishments, but has declined to say whether he received an initial loan.
Scrutiny intensified when former aide Dominic Cummings accused Johnson of wanting donors to “secretly pay” for the renovations to the apartment in a “possibly illegal” move.
Tory peer Lord Brownlow said in an email leaked to the Daily Mail and dated October 14 that he was making a £58,000 donation to the Conservatives “to cover the payments the party has already made on behalf of the soon-to-be-formed ‘Downing Street Trust’”.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “This is not about Boris Johnson’s personal finances, the record speaks for itself that he has already broken the rules on declaring his financial interests, and he is already under investigation regarding potentially illegal wrongdoing.
“The issue of debt when it comes to the prime minister is whatever debt of gratitude Boris Johnson owes to the Tory donor who paid to renovate his flat, and what this donor or donors were promised or expected in return for their generosity.”