UK police issue 20 fines for lockdown parties hosted by Boris Johnson and staff
British police have issued 20 fines for illegal parties hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staff during the coronavirus lockdowns – although the recipients do not include Johnson, whose power has been threatened by the unlawful gatherings.
The Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday they would not identify the recipients of the fixed penalty notices, but Johnson’s office said it would reveal if he received one. It was unclear if 20 people received fines or if some people received more than one.
Opponents and some members of the ruling Conservative Party have said Johnson should resign if he is fined for breaking rules he imposed on the rest of the country during the pandemic.
The partygate scandal had left Johnson’s tenure shaky before Russia launched a war in Ukraine more than a month ago, giving British politicians more pressing priorities.
But police continued to investigate dozens of politicians and officials over allegations that the government flouted its own pandemic restrictions. Officers sent questionnaires to more than 100 people, including the prime minister, and interviewed witnesses as part of the investigation.
Confirming they had authorized 20 fines, police said officers were working on a “significant amount of investigative material” and more people could face penalties later.
Johnson’s government has been rocked by public anger over revelations that his staff held ‘bring your own booze’ office parties, birthday celebrations and ‘wine Fridays’ in 2020 and 2021, while millions of people in Britain were barred from meeting friends and family because of his government. COVID-19 Restrictions.
Thousands of people have been fined between 60 pounds (C$99) and 10,000 pounds (C$16,419) by police for breaking the rules.
Johnson has denied any wrongdoing, but he is believed to have participated in several of the dozens of events at his 10 Downing Street office and other government buildings that are under investigation by police. He admitted to attending a ‘bring your own booze’ party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 during the first lockdown, but insisted he thought it would be a work event.
In January, civil servant Sue Gray released a report on some of the gatherings, those that were not the subject of a criminal investigation. She said the Johnson government‘s “failures of leadership and judgment” allowed things to happen that should not have happened.
Johnson’s spokesman Max Blain declined to say whether the prime minister would resign if fined.
“It’s a hypothetical situation,” he said.
‘Slap in the face’
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, said the party’s revelations were “a slap in the face” for millions of people who had followed nationwide coronavirus restrictions.
“Culture is established from the top,” she said. “The blame lies with the Prime Minister, who has spent months lying to the British public, which is why he has to go.”
Hannah Brady, spokesperson for the COVID-19 group Bereaved Families for Justice, said Johnson “should have quit months ago because of this.”
“By dragging it out any longer, it is only pouring more salt on the wounds of those who have already suffered so much.”