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Now Boris lawyers up: PM ‘will hire private legal expert in case police quiz him...

Now Boris lawyers up: PM ‘will hire private legal expert in case police quiz him over Partygate’ as Met asks more than 50 others about lockdown bashes

Prime Minister has already lined up a legal expert on coronavirus regulations
Mr Johnson is expected to be among those who will be sent legal questionnaires
He has repeatedly denied that he broke any coronavirus lockdown regulations 

By Harry Howard For Mailonline and John Stevens, Deputy Political Editor and Rebecca Camber for the Daily Mail
Published: 01:44 GMT, 11 February 2022 | Updated: 01:45 GMT, 11 February 2022

Boris Johnson will appoint a private lawyer which he will pay for himself rather than billing the taxpayer if he is questioned by police over partygate, it was reported last night.

The Prime Minister has already lined up a legal expert on coronavirus regulations, should he need one, according to The Times. 
Mr Johnson is expected to be among more than 50 people in Number 10 and Whitehall who will get legal questionnaires from detectives working on the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman. 
In the House of Commons and elsewhere, he has repeatedly denied that he has broken any rules. 

Boris Johnson will appoint a private lawyer which he will pay for himself rather than billing the taxpayer if he is questioned by police over partygate, it was reported last night

He has also repeatedly refused to say whether he will resign if he is fined by police.  
Mr Johnson’s lawyer is expected to focus on the fact that Downing Street is both his home and his workplace. 
At the time, the coronavirus lockdown rules made it illegal to be outside your home without a reasonable excuse. 
Lawyers have already pointed out that the PM could argue that he did not breach the rules by going to parties in Number 10 because he did not leave his home when doing so.

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However, this defence would not apply to claims that a party was held in the Downing Street flat. 
It is alleged the bash took place to celebrate the departure of Mr Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings on November 13, 2020.

The Prime Minister has already lined up a legal expert on coronavirus regulations, should he need one. Above: The picture which emerged this week of Mr Johnson undoing his tie next to an open bottle of sparkling wine

A source told The Times: ‘The prime minister will not be winging it.

‘He will take private legal advice. There are relevant considerations. He is in a unique legal situation because Downing Street is both his workplace and his home.’
Mr Johnson said yesterday that he would not reveal how he will respond until the Met’s investigation is finished.       
‘That process must be completed. I’m looking forward to it being completed and that’s the time to say more,’ he said.
Individuals who receive police questionnaires have seven days to respond. 

Police will then decide whether or not to report them to the criminal records office ACRO. This is the body that would then issue fixed penalty notices.   
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, speaking hours before she was sacked last night, said: ‘Clearly, some, but probably not all, of those people may very well end up with a ticket.’   

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