UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have been told that they'll be fined over parties held at Downing Street during the COVID-19 pandemic in violation of lockdown rules.
“The prime minister and chancellor of the Exchequer have today received notification that the Metropolitan Police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices,” a spokeswoman for No. 10 Downing Street said on April 12.
The prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, has also been notified that she'll receive a fixed penalty notice, her spokesperson confirmed.
The opposition Labour Party has called on both Johnson and Sunak to resign.
“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign," Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said. “The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey wrote on Twitter: “This is a government in crisis neglecting a country in crisis. Parliament must be recalled for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.”
Johnson has been plagued by a series of damaging allegations of parties and other gatherings held in his official residence at No. 10 Downing Street and other government departments in Whitehall at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in violation of lockdown rules written by the government.
The Metropolitan Police stated on March 29 that 20 “fixed penalty notices” over these parties would be issued, confirming that the police had ruled that the law had been broken.
Earlier on April 12, the Met stated that it has now made more than 50 referrals for fines.
“The investigation into allegations of breaches of COVID-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street continues to progress," it said in a statement. “As of Tuesday, 12 April 2022, we have made over 50 referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPN) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of COVID-19 regulations who, following the referral, issue the FPNs to the individual.
“We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed, this includes continuing to assess significant amounts of investigative material from which further referrals may be made to ACRO.”
Johnson has so far rejected repeated calls from opposition parties for him to resign over the so-called partygate scandal.
Calls for his resignation also came from his own backbench Conservative MPs, but in recent weeks, the war in Ukraine has seen Tory MPs rally around their leader.