RECAP: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak fined over lockdown parties
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be issued with fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations following allegations of lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, a No 10 spokeswoman said.
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.
The Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, has also been notified that she will receive a fixed penalty notice following allegations of lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, a spokesperson for Mrs Johnson has said.
Mrs Johnson’s spokesperson said: “In the interests of transparency, Mrs Johnson can confirm she has been notified that she will receive a fixed-penalty notice.
“She has not yet received any further details about the nature of the FPN.”
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.”
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Live updates as Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak fined over lockdown parties
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said it “wouldn’t be right” to remove the Prime Minister during the Russian invasion of Ukraine after he was fined over lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Mr Ross, previously one of the leading voices calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation over the partygate saga, said: “The public are rightly furious at what happened in Downing Street during the pandemic. I understand why they are angry and share their fury.
“The behaviour was unacceptable. The Prime Minister now needs to respond to these fines being issued.
“However, as I’ve made very clear, in the middle of war in Europe, when Vladimir Putin is committing war crimes and the UK is Ukraine’s biggest ally, as President (Volodymyr) Zelensky said at the weekend, it wouldn’t be right to remove the Prime Minister at this time.
“It would destabilise the UK Government when we need to be united in the face of Russian aggression and the murdering of innocent Ukrainians.”
Douglas Ross has insisted it “wouldn’t be right” to remove Boris Johnson from office after it emerged the Prime Minister will be fined over partygate.
But how likely is a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and how does the process work? Here’s what you need to know.
What has Boris Johnson said about the parties previously?
On December 7th 2021, Boris Johnson said: “I can tell you that all guidelines were followed at all times. I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.”
On 13 December 2021, the Prime Minister said: “I can tell you once again that I certainly broke no rules. All of that is being looked into.”
On Jan 12, 2022, he told the House of Commons: “I belived implicity this was a work event. Mr Speaker, with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them.
On January 19, he said: “ It is for the inquiry to come forward with an explanation of what happened.”
It has been a huge day in British politics - with many calling for the PM to resign.
If you are just joining us it has been confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be fined over lockdown parties at Downing Street.
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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak “must resign now” as they have “insulted the millions of people who faithfully followed the rules that they set”.
Responding to the news that both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will be fined over Downing Street lockdown parties, Mr Blackford told the PA news agency: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak must now resign. The Prime Minister repeatedly misled Parliament, lied to the public and at times even simply laughed it off, taking the public for fools.
“In reality, Johnson and Sunak have overseen one of the biggest lockdown breaches that has led to the Metropolitan Police issuing a staggering number of fines for rule-breaking.”
He added: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor’s positions are untenable. They have insulted the millions of people who faithfully followed the rules that they set – even when that meant the heartbreak of not being present for the births, marriages or the deaths of loved ones.
“There simply cannot be one rule for the Tories and another for the rest of us.
“If Johnson and Sunak have a shred of dignity they will finally do the right thing and resign now. If they refuse, then it is on Tory MPs to step up and act to remove them from office to restore public trust.”
Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale said now is not the time to “unseat” the Prime Minister.
Reacting to the news the Prime Minister and Chancellor will receive fines, the North Thanet told the PA news agency: “It’s serious of course. My position remains that the fact that the Prime Minister has effectively misled the House of Commons is a very serious issue indeed, but we are in the middle of an international crisis and I am not prepared to give Vladimir Putin the comfort of thinking that we are about to unseat the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and destabilise the coalition against Putin.
“So any reaction to this is going to have to wait until we have dealt with the main crisis which is Ukraine and the Donbas.”
He said: “The Prime Minister has said categorically no rules were broken and nothing untoward took place. That is patently wrong and he now has to acknowledge that it’s wrong. And he will have to decide I think where that leaves him in his relationship with Parliament.”
He added: “My main concern is that we don’t rock the boat and give Putin the comfort of thinking that the alliance, the Nato alliance particularly, but the coalition that’s been put together to sanction Putin and all his works, is unstable. That’s absolutely of paramount importance.”