By Orowo Victoria Ojieh
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will apologise to parliament for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules after being fined by police. He was fined by the police last week for attending a birthday party thrown in his honour in June 2020 when people from different households were not allowed to meet indoors.
Opposition parties push for an investigation into whether he misled lawmakers by repeatedly insisting that he did not breach the COVID-19 regulations.
They have also called for Johnson to resign, accusing him of misleading parliament after he told lawmakers last year that all rules were followed in Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence and workplace during the pandemic.
Opposition lawmakers are in talks about how best to reprimand Johnson, either by pushing for a vote on whether he is in contempt of parliament, or to refer him to a parliamentary committee to investigate whether he deliberately misled lawmakers, The Trumpet gathered.
The speaker will decide whether to grant a vote on whether to investigate if Johnson misled parliament, and if the house votes in favour then a parliamentary committee will investigate. Johnson is set to address the parliament at around 1530 GMT, will attempt to deflect some of the criticism by talking about other issues he is dealing with, including the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and immigration.
Britain’s Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis played down claims that the prime minister had misled parliament and suggested that the fine he paid was similar to ministers who have previously received parking fines.
Lewis has been criticised for comparing the Johnson lockdown fine to former ministers receiving speeding and parking fines. Keir Starmer, opposition Labour leader accused the prime minister of using the conflict in Ukraine as a shield to keep his job and said that he finds such a tactic “pretty offensive”.
“He’s not just broken the rules, he’s lied to the public and he’s lied to parliament about it,” he said. Boris Johnson became the first serving UK prime minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law, along with his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The Prime Minister is facing accusations of lying to parliaments because he initially told them Covid rules had been followed in No 10 after the first reports of parties emerged last year.
Under government rules, ministers are expected to resign for knowingly misleading parliament and correct the record as soon as possible if they inadvertently tell Parliament something false.