Boris Johnson and Sunak fined for breaching ‘Partygate’ lockdown

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said Tuesday it will be fined for breaking COVID-19 regulations following allegations of lockdown parties at government offices. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak will also be fined.

The news came after London’s Metropolitan Police said earlier on Tuesday it was issuing a further 30 fixed penalty notices in relation to the ‘partygate’ scandal, which has angered many Britons and seen dozens of politicians and officials investigating allegations that the government flouted its own pandemic restrictions.

‘The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer were advised today that the Metropolitan Police intended to issue notices of fixed fines to them,’ a spokesman for Johnson’s office said. “We don’t have any more details, but we’ll let you know when we do.”

The amount of fines imposed on Johnson and Sunak was unclear.

Johnson has denied any wrongdoing, but he reportedly attended several of the dozens of events at his office at 10 Downing St. and other government buildings that are under police investigation.

Johnsons government has been rocked by public anger over revelations that its staff held ‘bring your own booze’ office parties, birthday celebrations and ‘wine Fridays’ in 2020 and 2021, while millions of people in Britain were barred from meeting friends and family due to government COVID-19 restrictions.

Thousands of people have been fined between 60 pounds ($79) and 10,000 pounds ($13,200) by police for social gatherings breaking the rules.

Opponents and some members of the ruling Conservative Party have said Johnson should resign if he is fined for breaking rules he imposed on the rest of the country during the pandemic.

In total, police said they were issuing at least 50 fines for the infractions, but did not identify the recipients. Police say they sent questionnaires to more than 100 people, including the prime minister, and interviewed witnesses as part of the investigation.

In January, civil servant Sue Gray released a report on some of the gatherings, those that were not the subject of a criminal investigation. She said Johnson’s government’s “failures of leadership and judgment” allowed things to happen that should not have happened.

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