Boris Johnson and finance minister to be fined by U.K. police
By Orowo Victoria Ojieh with agency report
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised but disregarded calls to resign on Tuesday after being fined for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by attending a gathering in his office to celebrate his birthday.
The Prime Minister said people had the right to expect better after he, his wife, and his finance minister Rishi Sunak were fined for breaching laws his government brought in to curb COVID-19.
Police have been investigating 12 gatherings at Johnson’s Downing Street office and the Cabinet Office after an inquiry found his staff had enjoyed alcohol-fuelled parties.
The British leader attended a few of the events.
“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 government spokesperson said.
“We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do.”
Some of the gatherings took place when people could not attend funerals or say farewell to loved ones dying in hospital because they were following rules set by Johnson’s government The Trumpet gathered.
“It didn’t occur to me that, as I say, I was in breach of the rules. I now humbly accept that I was,” Johnson said. “I think the best thing I can do now is, having settled the fine, to focus on the job and that’s what I’m going to do.”
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After the parties were first reported in late 2021, Johnson said all rules were followed, though he later apologised to parliament for attending one event, which he said he thought was work-related. He also said sorry to Queen Elizabeth for another event at which staff partied on the eve of her husband’s funeral.
Opponents have urged him to quit, saying he misled parliament.
“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign,” said Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party.