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Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak Face Fines for COVID Lockdown Breaches

Labour has called on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to resign after it was disclosed that they will both be fined for attending parties during COVID-19 lockdown.

Number 10 confirmed that they had been notified by the Metropolitan Police of an intention to issue them with fixed penalty notices in relation to 'Operation Hillman', which is investigating breaches of COVID regulations by figures in Whitehall and Downing Street.

Mr Johnson's wife, Carrie, has also received a notification that she will be fined.

Resignation Calls

Within minutes of the disclosure, the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: "Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign."

Scotland's First Minister also called for the Prime Minister to resign, saying "he should take his out of touch Chancellor with him".

A police statement said that as of today, "we have made over 50 referrals for fixed penalty notices to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of COVID-19 regulations".

It added that officers were "making every effort to progress this investigation at speed" and were "continuing to assess significant amounts of investigative material from which further referrals may be made".

Timeline to Fines

In December last year, Mr Johnson apologised in the House of Commons after his staff were filmed joking about a rule-breaking party in Downing Street.

He told MPs: "I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing Number 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures, and I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules – because I was also furious to see that clip."

The Prime Minister initially dismissed reports that rules had been broken during any Westminster gatherings, but later told MPs that he thought he had been attending a work event.

Mr Johnson ordered an inquiry by senior civil servant Sue Gray into allegations that lockdown measures had been breached.

The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into eight of 12 events reviewed by her investigation after seeing the report's initial findings, which concluded that "some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify", and that there had been "failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office".

In February, the Operation Hillman team sent formal questionnaires to more than 50 people over eight events between May 20, 2020, and April 16, 2021. Individuals were asked to account for and explain participation at any of the events.

The enquiry team sifted through 500 documents and 300 images made available to them by the Cabinet Office.

After today's developments, a spokesperson for COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice issued a statement, saying: "There is simply no way either the Prime Minister or Chancellor can continue. Their dishonesty has caused untold hurt to the bereaved."

Lead Image Credit: Gareth Fuller - WPA Pool/Getty Images