In 2014, the then mayor of London admitted he had racked up quite the overdue fine as a student, while visiting a bookshop in Oxford to sign copies of his extended fan letter The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History.
“It’s lovely to be back in Oxford,” he said.
“I’ve just been walking around the quad of Trinity College and I had the horrible realisation that I still have a book from their library that I haven’t returned.
“I’ll need to dig that out and give it back next time I come to Oxford.”
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Johnson attended the university between 1983 and 1987. Oxford’s libraries charge 20p per day for a late return, meaning he owes £73 for every year he has kept the book. So, Johnson could owe the library between some £2,774 and £3066 - depending on the year he decided to read it, and whether he has managed to return it or not yet.
And it comes after Private Eye Magazine revealed that Johnson has an unpaid and unspecified debt of £535 and a court is chasing him for the cash.
He was served a county court judgement in October last year, the magazine revealed. This could risk bailiffs turning up at his home, or a bad credit rating - not a great look from a member of the party of austerity. Who Johnson owes money to and for what is not known.
Reacting to this latest drama, which comes while the Electoral Commission investigate the funding of Johnson’s Downing Street flat, people on social media chuckled and memes came flooding in:
A Downing Street source issued a statement to the BBC saying that Downing Street officials were “looking into” the circumstances of the fine.
They said it was a “totally unfounded claim which has absolutely no basis whatsoever”.
The source added: “We’re urgently looking into how this got to court in the first place and are moving to have it struck out.”
Meanwhile, we’d hate to put more pressure on the Prime Minister (whose salary is over £157,000 a year, before we even take into the money he gets from his books and other income sources), but we might have.
indy100 shot Trinity College, Oxford, an email to remind them of Johnson’s debt and to ask them if they ever did get their book back? However, they said they don’t hold records for missing books that go back that far. We also approached Downing Street for comment. We’ll let you know what they both have to say.
If he hasn’t returned it yet, it seems it’s time for him to cough up. After all, how long does it really take to read a book?