Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been given police fines for attending Covid lockdown-busting parties, with pressure set to come on the Prime Minister and chancellor to resign immediately for breaking the law.
Downing Street has confirmed the pair, along with Carrie Johnson, will be given Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) by the Metropolitan Police as a part of the latest tranche of fines during the partygate investigation.
A Number 10 spokesperson said Johnson was fined for attending a work birthday party in Downing Street on 19 June 2020.
It has been widely reported that Sunak and Carrie Johnson’s fines are for the same event.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: “The Met Police have now explained that the FPN issued to the PM will be in relation to the following incident – ‘on 19th June 2020 at the Cabinet Room 10 Downing Street between 1400 and 1500 you participated in a gathering of two or more people indoors in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street’.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has already called for the pair to resign, tweeting that “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public”.
Johnson is being accused of misleading parliament, usually a resigning offence for cabinet ministers, after saying that “all [Covid] rules were followed” in Downing Street throughout the pandemic.
Sunak also told parliament that he “did not attend any parties” when being questioned about his role in partygate.
A snap YouGov poll found 57 per cent of Brits think Johnson and Sunak should both resign.
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has called for parliament to be recalled from easter recess for a vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister.
More than 50 fines now have been given out by the police as a part of its investigation into Covid law-breaking.
The Met investigation is looking at more than a dozen parties, which were held in Downing Street or across other government departments during 2020 and 2021.
It is known that Johnson attended at least two of these events himself, however he has claimed that he did not know they were not official work gatherings.
Johnson was under serious pressure to resign at the height of the partygate scandal, with more than a dozen Tory MPs calling for him to go.
The Prime Minister has since shored up his position with his response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however his approval ratings with the public remain at an all-time low.
A leadership contest of the Conservative party will be called if 54 letters of no-confidence are sent in to the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers by MPs.
Senior Tory Sir Roger Gale – who was one of the first MPs to call for Johnson to go – today said it was not the time to unseat Johnson while the war in Ukraine is being fought.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, who sent in a letter of no-confidence in January, also publicly came out in support for Johnson this afternoon.
“In the middle of war in Europe, when Vladimir Putin is committing war crimes and the UK is Ukraine’s biggest ally, as President Zelensky said at the weekend, it wouldn’t be right to remove the prime minister at this time,” he said.
Tory MP Charles Walker told Times Radio: “Well, I’m pretty speechless to be honest. I just know a lot of my constituents suffered hugely during lockdown and continue to suffer … I feel for them really.”
The fine comes after a torrid week for Sunak, which saw him reportedly considering resigning amid a wave of stories about his family’s tax status.
It was revealed that his wife Akshata Murthy had non-domiciled status, meaning she pays income on overseas earnings to foreign governments. She was forced to change her tax status on Friday in a bid to save her husband’s political career.