Early yesterday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a statement after receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for breaking COVID-19 laws he himself had introduced.
Johnson’s fine makes him the UK’s first-ever serving prime minister to be found guilty of breaking the law.
PM Johnson said, “Today, I received a Fixed Penalty Notice from the Metropolitan Police relating to an event at Downing Street on 19 June 2020. Let me say that I immediately paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology.”
On 8 December last year, Mr Johnson said in parliament, “I understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules.”
However, one of the people who was setting the rules and not following them was Boris Johnson himself.
The Metropolitan Police issued a statement to Mr Johnson that read: “On the 19 June 2020 at the Cabinet Room 10 Downing Street between 14:00 and 15:00 you participated in a gathering of two or more people indoors.”
This gathering was a birthday party, reported on by ITV News on 25 January 2022, at which Mr Johnson was presented with a birthday cake and a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ was sung.
Several days before this event Mr Johnson had urged people to “show restraint and respect the rules.”
However, during yesterday’s statement, PM Johnson said, with apparent lack of awareness of the laws he himself introduced, “In all frankness, at that time it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules.”
Having been issued with an FPN, the Metropolitan Police conclusion means that despite Mr Johnson claiming that he has always “sought to tell the truth,” he has in fact repeatedly made false statements about the lockdown parties at Downing Street.
The ministerial code states that if a member intentionally misleads the house, they must resign.
But, the Prime Minister denies lying, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Wallasey MP, Angela Eagle, said that PM Johnson “lied on the floor of the House of Commons – He has broken the law, he has broken the Ministerial code he must resign,” and that he was “totally unfit to Govern.”
Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead said, “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak broke the law and then lied about it for months. They must both resign.”
Margaret Greenwood, MP for Wirral West said, “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak [have been] fined for breaking lockdown laws – they should both resign” and that “Boris Johnson says he had spoken ‘in good faith’ when he told Parliament all rules were followed at No.10. Really? When has he ever spoken in good faith?”
Wirral South MP, Alison McGovern, said that she had been receiving correspondence from her constituents regarding the matter; “Please keep emailing us. I would far rather receive expressions of anger and know people want politics to change, than to have silence and suspect that people think it can’t get any better.”
Leader of Wirral Council, Jan Williamson, said that Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak “partied whilst my residents couldn’t see, hug, care for or say goodbye to their loved ones. Reprehensible.”
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram said, “People have given Boris Johnson more than one opportunity to change his behaviour over many, many years and he doesn’t seem to be capable. No one is above the law. It’s time for him to go.”
Image: Clockwise from top left: Margaret Greenwood, Labour MP for Wirral West – Mick Whitley, Labour MP for Birkenhead – Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey – Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South.
Image credit: Clockwise from top left: Margaret Greenwood/Handout, Mick Whitley/www.fotopiaimages.com, Angela Eagle/Official Portrait, Alison McGovern/Official Portrait.