Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have been fined by police over breaches of lockdown regulations that they themselves imposed, but there could be more fines on the way.
The fines handed out to several key figures, including the Prime Minister, Chancellor, and the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, were confirmed to have been in relation to a Downing Street party held for Boris Johnson’s birthday in June 2020.
It is believed that the police are going on an event-by-event basis, meaning that many more fines could be on the way for the prime minister, who was alleged to have attended almost a dozen parties throughout the different lockdowns.
The Prime Minister was pictured holding a can of Estrella during the party, which some believe may have been pivotal evidence in the police judging that that event was not a work event, and was indeed a birthday party. It is also being reported that the prime minister’s wife brought a birthday cake to the gathering, adding further evidence that it was not a work event.
Accoridng to the police, Boris Johnson had attended the event for approximately 1 hour, contradicting the prime minister’s earlier remarks that he had been there for “10 minutes” during his working day.
The fines will increase the pressure on the prime minister, by showing that he had misled Parliament (a breach of the ministerial code), and consequently would be expected to resign.
Johnson also becomes the first sitting prime minister to have been found to break the law.
In December 2021 Johnson had told Parliament that he believed that everyone had followed the rules in Downing Street, and later suggested that he personally had not broken any rules, after further evidence emerged that parties had indeed taken place.
Pressure will mount on Conservative MPs to act, with many having previously stated that they would wait to see if the prime minister was found to have broken the rules before deciding on whether they would continue to support him.
Earlier in the year, when reports first broke, many MPs had submitted letters of no confidence, which would trigger a vote of no confidence within the Parliamentary party should enough MPs suggest they lost confidence in the prime minister.
Neither Johnson nor Sunak have yet responded to the fines, however, the calls for their resignations – after a tumultuous week in which Sunak was showed to have held a US Green Card whilst the UK Chancellor – will only intensify given recent events.