Johnson is set to be fined by police for breaching Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
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LONDON – The British government said on Tuesday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak would be fined for breaching Covid-19 lockdown rules, prompting calls for embattled ministers to resign.
The announcement means Johnson will become the first sitting prime minister in living memory to be found breaking the law.
A Downing Street spokesman said in a statement that Johnson and Snack “today received notification that the Metropolitan Police intends to issue fixed penalty notices to them.”
“We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do,” they added.
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer has called on the two Conservative MPs to resign, saying they had repeatedly lied to the public.
This sentiment was echoed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan of the Labor Party and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
“Boris Johnson must resign,” Sturgeon said. “He broke the law and repeatedly lied to Parliament about it. The core values of integrity and decency – essential to the proper functioning of any parliamentary democracy – demand his departure.” “And he must bring with him the advisor who is far from him.”
Her spokesperson, Carrie Johnson, the prime minister’s partner, has also been notified that she will be fined for breaches of the Covid lockdown, according to Sky News.
The Metropolitan Police said earlier on Tuesday it had made an additional 30 referrals to 20 previous specific punishment notices as part of an investigation into illegal gatherings at the Prime Minister’s office and residence.
The Met was investigating 12 gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall that allegedly violated Covid lockdown rules.
Johnson has so far resisted calls to resign over the “Party Gateway” scandal, despite persistent public outrage. It was previously expected that a police fine for Johnson for breaches of the Covid lockdown would likely lead to a vote of no confidence.
Johnson’s leadership has come under enormous pressure following a series of allegations that government employees, including Johnson at times, attended numerous parties and rallies at a time when strict public health measures were being taken to curb the spread of Covid.
Sunak has also come under pressure in recent weeks. The Treasury Secretary faced questions about his previous residence in the United States and his wife’s tax affairs.
One gathering, in particular, caught Johnson as he convened in May 2020 at the height of the first lockdown, when the general public was only allowed to meet someone else from outside their home, in an outdoor setting.
Johnson admitted to Parliament in January that he attended the party – described as a “bring your own booze” gathering in Downing Street park where around 100 people were reported to have been invited.
But he told lawmakers that he only attended the 25-minute ceremony in order to “thank employee groups” for their hard work and that he “implicitly believed this was a work event,” a comment criticized by opposition politicians.
Labor has been critical of Johnson’s leadership and comments on his May 2020 party attendance, repeatedly calling on the prime minister to resign.
When Johnson in January offered his “heartfelt apologies” to the nation for attending the event, Labour’s Starmer said Johnson’s explanation for his attendance was “so ridiculous that it was in fact offensive to the British public” as he called on the Conservative leader to “do the thing. Decent and resignation.
– CNBC’s Holly Eliat contributed to this report.
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