Nick Ferrari challenges Welsh Secretary over Boris Johnson's partygate fine

14 April 2022, 09:02

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Tory MP Simon Hart has said it does not make a difference for him if more fixed penalty notices are issued over lockdown breaches in Westminster.

The Wales Secretary told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that "different MPs and others will come to different conclusions. But I think there are also quite a lot of people who are looking at this as one problem if you like because all these things allegedly happened around the same time.

His comments come amid reports Boris Johnson is braced to potentially receive further fines for breaches of coronavirus laws after a justice minister resigned over the "repeated rule-breaking" in Downing Street.

Conservative peer David Wolfson said he had "no option" other than to quit because the scale and nature of the events determined by police to be breaches so far are "inconsistent with the rule of law".

Read more: Boris 'braced for second partygate fine' as police continue probe of 12 events

Multiple newspapers carried reports suggesting the Prime Minister could receive further fixed penalty notices after he accepted a fine for attending a birthday party held for him in No 10 during Covid restrictions in June 2020.

Read more: Top Cabinet members rally round Boris as minister resigns over Partygate

Watch: Tory MP: Partygate fines 'a bit harsh' on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak

Defending the Prime Minister, the Wales Secretary said: "They were entered into, as it turns out, as a sort of misjudged way but at the time, and as reported, they were not considered to be offences.

"So for me, it doesn't make a lot of difference whether it's one or three. Others will take a different view. But, as I say, I think the correct sanction is a fixed penalty notice.

"I don't think fixed penalty notices should include automatic sacking for people who happen to be in public life."

His comments led to Nick challenging him over further fines, "even if we got to half a dozen?"

Mr Hart replied: "Frankly, the principle are the same whether it's one or five, some people will take a view there is a sort of ceiling. I personally don't understand the logic of that. But others, as I say, on this may take a different view."

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