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'Vexatious' debt claim against UK PM Boris Johnson removed

LONDON (AP) — A court order naming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as owing an unpaid debt was no longer on the books Thursday, a day after Johnson’s office called it “totally without merit.”

An October 2020 county court judgment uncovered by Private Eye magazine named Boris Johnson of 10 Downing St. in London as owing 535 pounds ($755). A separate file showed the claim was made by an Yvonne Hobbs for “defamation.”

Johnson’s office initially appeared unaware of the judgment when asked about it, and later called it “vexatious and spurious.”

“An application will be made for an order to set aside the default judgment, to strike out the claim and for a declaration that the claim is totally without merit,” Downing St. said in a statement.

On Thursday a court official said there was no longer a county court judgment in the case.

County court judgments can be issued if someone fails to respond to court action over an alleged debt, according to a government website. The judgment means the court has formally decided the money is owed, but the order can be appealed.

Johnson’s finances are under scrutiny, with election watchdog the Electoral Commission investigating the funding of renovations to the prime minister’s official residence.

Britain’s parliamentary ethics watchdog is also investigating who paid for Johnson’s vacation on the Caribbean island of Mustique just before the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press