U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were told by police they’ll be fined for attending rule-breaking gatherings during lockdown, the most damaging development yet in a scandal dubbed “partygate” by the British media.
Britain’s two most powerful politicians were informed Tuesday by the Metropolitan Police about the intention to fine them, Johnson’s office said in a statement. The Metropolitan Police said that it did not have any further information.
This means Johnson and Sunak have been found to have broken the rules that they had made during the pandemic. Even though ordinary Britons had to socialize under strict restrictions, the Premier and his aides along with his Finance Minister were found to have hacked in government buildings.
Opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer said the fines are a sign the two men had “repeatedly lied to the British public.”
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Now, the question is whether or not the Fines will reenergize calls within the Conservative Party to Johnson for his resignation. This year, Johnson’s premiership came to an abrupt halt due to multiple allegations.
Johnson refused to give up and called on the MPs not to fire them until they had concluded their investigations. Since then, Russia invaded Ukraine and Johnson’s personal ratings have started to recover, taking the sting out of “partygate.” Some Tories have said an international crisis is not the time for a leadership change.
A dozen people have been gathered in government buildings since January. Johnson photographed one of them in the Garden at Number 10. Another was found in the Cabinet Room on Johnson’s Birthday.
At the end March, police began to issue fines to officers. On Tuesday it stated that it recommended that more than 50 be issued. It’s possible that some people have received more than one fine.
Johnson’s wife, Carrie, will also be issued a fine, her spokeswoman confirmed.
In a preliminary report published in January, senior civil servant Sue Gray slammed “failures of leadership and judgment” at the top of Johnson’s administration and criticized a culture of “excessive” drinking. Once the probe is over, all of her findings will be revealed by police.
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