Boris Johnson fines: Will Boris resign amid Partygate fines for him and Rishi Sunak?

Boris Johnson is believed to have attended six of the at least 12 events being investigated.

Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 9:58 am
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak get the beers in during a visit to Fourpure Brewery in London. Photo: Dan Kitwood/PA.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak get the beers in during a visit to Fourpure Brewery in London. Photo: Dan Kitwood/PA.

There are renewed calls for Prime Minister to resign from office after the Metropolitan Police announced that both he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will have to pay fines for attending lockdown parties at Downing Street.

But how likely is it for Johnson to resign? Here’s what you need to know.

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Downing Street fines: How many Downing Street parties there were and who attende...
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak will face fines for breaching Covid-19 lockdown laws stemming from the "partygate" scandal. Photo: Daniel LEAL / AFP via Getty Images.

Boris Johnson fines for Partygate

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have been told they will be fined as part of a police probe into allegations of lockdown parties held at Downing Street. It comes after the Metropolitan Police announced 30 additional fines on Tuesday in relation to Operation Hillman, which is looking into breaches of Covid-19 regulations at the top of Government.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have today received notification that the Metropolitan police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices. We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do."

The news was made public during the Easter recess, when PMQs is not held as it usually is every Wednesday.

Police have opted not to name those facing fines, citing traditional practices when dealing with out-of-court matters such as speeding fines, but Downing Street said it would confirm if Mr Johnson was among those being penalised.

Scotland Yard said on Tuesday that it had made at least 50 referrals for fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) - up from 20 at the end of March - to ACRO Criminal Records Office, which is responsible for issuing the fines. Mr Johnson is understood to have been present at six of the at least 12 events being investigated.

Will Boris resign?

Following widespread calls for his resignation from across his own party and those from the opposition, Mr Johnson faced Parliament on Tuesday April 19th.

The Prime Minister apologised 35 times in less than two hours during his first appearance in the Commons after being fined over a Downing Street party, twice in his opening statement and then repeated the apology to 33 MPs who questioned him about Partygate.

The Prime Minister told MPs in his opening speech: "Let me begin in all humility by saying that on April 12 I received a fixed penalty notice relating to an event in Downing Street on the 19th of June, 2020."I paid the fine immediately, and I offered the British people a full apology. I take this opportunity on the first available sitting day to repeat my wholehearted apology to the House as soon as I received the notice, I acknowledge the hurt and the anger."He later said: "I repeat that was my mistake, and I apologise for it unreservedly."

Previously, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had said both Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak should quit following the confirmation.

Sir Keir said: "Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign. The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better."

"Boris Johnson must resign. He broke the law and repeatedly lied to parliament about it,” tweeted Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. "The basic values of integrity and decency - essential to the proper working of any parliamentary democracy - demand that he go. And he should take his out of touch chancellor with him."

Despite these calls, Boris Johnson looks set to avoid an initial fallout from becoming the first prime minister to be hit with criminal sanctions while in office over a birthday bash held for him in Downing Street against Covid rules. The Prime Minister, his wife, and the Chancellor all apologised on Tuesday and confirmed they had paid fines imposed by the Metropolitan Police over a party held on June 19 2020 to mark Mr Johnson's 56th birthday.

Mr Johnson said it "did not occur" to him that the gathering might be breaching Covid rules, while Rishi Sunak said he understood that "for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence". But although both politicians said they now accepted the rules had been broken, neither appeared to be considering their positions, as they said they wanted to get on with the job.

Mr Johnson also did not rule out the prospect he could be fined again for further events. He is reported to have attended six of the 12 under investigation.

Speaking to broadcasters at Chequers, Mr Johnson said: "There was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm lasting for less than 10 minutes, during which people I work with kindly passed on their good wishes. And I have to say in all frankness at that time it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules.

"I now humbly accept that I was, but I think the best thing I can do now is, having settled the fine, is focus on the job in hand. That's what I'm going to do."

Chancellor Sunak also offered “an unreserved apology”.

"I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence,” Mr Sunak said. “I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine. I know people sacrificed a great deal during Covid, and they will find this situation upsetting. I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry.

"Like the Prime Minister, I am focused on delivering for the British people at this challenging time."

A spokesperson for Carrie Johnson said: "Whilst she believed that she was acting in accordance with the rules at the time, Mrs Johnson accepts the Metropolitan Police's findings and apologises unreservedly."

Additional reporting by PA.