PM, Carrie and Chancellor hit with fines for lockdown-busting party breaches

12 April 2022, 13:49 | Updated: 12 April 2022, 17:44

Boris and Carrie Johnson and Rishi Sunak will be fined over Partgate
Boris and Carrie Johnson and Rishi Sunak will be fined over Partgate. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are to receive police fines for Covid lockdown breaches in the Partygate scandal.

The penalty notices sent to the prime minister and Mr Sunak are part of fines sent to government staff who attended parties in Whitehall during 2020 and 2021 when Covid-19 restrictions were in place.

The fine makes Boris Johnson first sitting British prime minister to have broken the law.

A No10 spokeswoman confirmed both of them will receive fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

She said: "The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have today received notification that the Metropolitan police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices.

The PM's wife Carrie Johnson has also been fined
The PM's wife Carrie Johnson has also been fined. Picture: Alamy

"We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do."

No10 later clarified that the fine issued to the PM today was for the 19 June 2020 birthday party thrown by his wife Carrie in the Cabinet room, which was also attended by Rishi Sunak.

A spokesperson for Carrie Johnson said: “In the interests of transparency, Mrs Johnson can confirm she has been notified that she will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice. She has not yet received any further details about the nature of the FPN.”

A spokesperson added later that she has paid her fixed penalty notice and “apologises unreservedly”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign.

"The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better."

In a poll earlier this month, 52% of the public said they thought Boris Johnson should resign if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also called for Boris Johnson's resignation. He tweeted: "A Prime Minister who breaks the laws his Government makes and then lies about it isn't fit for office.

"Families made huge sacrifices and obeyed the law. Many said their last goodbyes to loved ones on the phone while the Prime Minister partied.

"Boris Johnson must resign."

The No10 statement did not mention the PM's wife Carrie Johnson. However, the only Partygate event attended by Rishi Sunak was a party organised by her for the Prime Minister's 56th birthday in the summer of 2020.

The development comes hours after police investigating allegations of lockdown parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall announced they had made more than 50 referrals for fines.

It also comes as the Chancellor faces ongoing scrutiny over his wife's tax arrangements after it emerged she was benefitting from non-dom status, saving her millions.

At least 30 more fixed penalty notices will be issued by the ACRO Criminal Records Office, the Metropolitan Police said in its latest update on Operation Hillman today, which is looking into breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

This is up from the 20 referrals for fixed-penalty notices (FPN) the force said had been made at the end of March.

Scotland Yard said it was "making every effort to progress this investigation at speed", with the possibility of more fines to come.

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The identities of people issued with FPNs have not been disclosed publicly by the Met, nor the event a fine relates to.

However, Downing Street has said it will confirm if either Boris Johnson or Cabinet Secretary Simon Case are handed a fine.

No 10 has been approached about whether the Prime Minister or Mr Case have been notified about an incoming fine as part of the latest batch of referrals.

Mr Johnson is understood to have been present at six of the at least 12 events being investigated.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the additional fines "expose the shocking scale of the criminality in Boris Johnson's No 10".

The former cabinet minister added: "The police have now completely shredded Johnson's claims that no laws were broken.

"He cannot be trusted and cannot continue as Prime Minister.

"No other leader in any other organisation would be allowed to continue after law-breaking on this scale.

"If Boris Johnson won't resign, Conservative MPs must show him the door."

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "This is just the latest example of a distracted out-of-touch government, guilty of breaking the law never mind enforcing it."

Matt Fowler, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said the FPN referrals were "indisputable" evidence that there was "rule breaking en masse" in Government while families were "unable to be at their loved ones' sides in their last moments".

"If Boris Johnson had any decency he would do the right thing and resign immediately," he said.

ACRO Criminal Records Office, the body responsible for issuing the penalties, will now deal with the latest tranche confirmed by police on Tuesday.

This story is being updated