Partygate: Boris Johnson Fined for Downing Street Lockdown Parties

LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pleaded guilty to one count of felony criminal mischief after he announced Tuesday that he would impose a further 30 fines for breach of contagious liquor on 10 Downing Street. He apologized and said he did not think he was breaking any rules and was not going to resign.

However, corruption is still a long way off.

Johnson was the first British Prime Minister to break the law. On Tuesday his critics had already called for his resignation. Ultimately, his political future depends more on the verdict of Parliament than on the assessment of the police.

On June 19, 2020, the Prime Minister was fined for violating the rules of his own government by attending a meeting of two or more people in the Cabinet Room on Downing Street.

It was a birthday party – attended by about 30 people, with song and cake – that the Prime Minister’s wife Gary Johnson reportedly arranged for her husband to surprise.

How many Lockdown parties did Boris Johnson and staff attend? Here is a guide.

Gary Johnson and Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak were among those cited by police on Tuesday as part of a criminal investigation into a dozen government parties during the epidemic.

In a statement made to the broadcaster in the evening, Johnson said he had paid his fine and “I apologize again.”

According to his account, one day when Govt was full of meetings and school visits, he “attended a brief meeting … lasting less than 10 minutes, during which I congratulated the staff.”

“I have to say frankly that at the time it didn’t seem like it might have violated the rules,” he said. “But of course the police found out differently. I fully respect the outcome of their investigation.”

The Prime Minister further said: “I understand the anger felt by many that I myself have failed to abide by the rules introduced by the government I have led to protect the public, and I wholeheartedly accept that the people have a right. Expect better. “

Gary Johnson and Sunak said they paid their fines.

Gary Johnson’s spokeswoman said the prime minister’s wife “believes the rules were in place at the time, accepting Ms Johnson’s findings from the Metropolitan Police and apologizing unconditionally.”

Sunak said in a statement: “I understand that the rules in the public office must be used strictly to maintain public confidence.”

On April 12, Johnson’s spokesman confirmed that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be fined by police for attending parties during the Corona virus lockout. (Video: Alexa Juliana Art / The Washington Post, Photo: The Washington Post)

London’s Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday it had imposed 50 fines on inquiries into locksmiths attended by government employees in the prime minister’s office and home and nearby cabinet offices.

Police did not specify who else was fined, what parties they attended, or even if 50 different people were fined 50. But as the trial continues, those who attend more meetings could face higher fines – including Johnson.

Police are investigating 12 meetings, including quiz games, wine and cheese celebrations, “BYOB” invitations – and liquor brought in by wheelbarrow.

Those who are fined will be sent a “standard penalty notice” first. They can simply pay what is believed to be 100 ($ 130) – half if paid immediately. Or they have 28 days to fight the fines, an additional police investigation in this case – and maybe even a trip to the courtroom.

Although the fines are small, the political costs to Johnson and his government can be substantial.

Now, Johnson is involved with criminal behavior. Having a birthday cake with co-workers can be a relatively minor offense because crimes do happen. But both inquiries and public outrage focus on the context: parties took place when strict epidemic controls were in place, when families refused to visit loved ones in hospitals and when the number of people attending funerals was low.

Johnson’s critics say the prime minister is a hypocrite, a slanderer, a liar, and unbelievable.

Scotland President Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that both Johnson and Sunak should resign. Opposition Workers’ Party leader Khair Stormer said there was “widespread crime” on 10 Downing Street, where Johnson lives and works.

Meanwhile, Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, called on parliament to reconvene to discuss a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Within hours of the fines being announced on Tuesday, the prime minister’s press office highlighted Johnson’s role as wartime leader, giving reporters a read of the call with President Biden. Johnson tweeted Picture With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky in Kiev over the weekend.

But if his fellow Tories consider themselves fools, support for the prime minister will now dwindle within his party.

Johnson’s fate is in the hands of fellow Conservative lawmakers, who could provoke a leadership challenge if 54 Conservative MPs submit letters of no confidence.

Steven Fielding, a political historian at the University of Nottingham, said Johnson’s punishment for violating the law was “shocking but not shocking.”

“Among the biggest things, it is a great shock and slander that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been found to have violated his own laws and lied about it.”

On the other hand, Fielding said, “We knew that before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, he was lying and he was misleading the people to go where he wants to go. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve been looking forward to it.

Johnson has long had a loose relationship with the truth. He was fired from his job as a journalist at the Times of London for making a quote. He once lost the presidency of the Conservative Party and later admitted he had lied in a love affair.

Want to understand Boris Johnson? Read his fiery magazine.

In this case, the analysts said, the reference to “guidance and rules” would deliberately mislead Parliament and focus on the question of whether Johnson had broken the “ministerial law” or the code of conduct to be followed by British politicians. Around the parties on Downing Street “followed at all times.”

If he violates the law, he must resign according to the convention.

The British Prime Minister is responsible for enforcing that code.

In late 2020, Johnson’s Home Secretary Priti Patel was found guilty of violating the code after an investigation into allegations of bullying. Johnson has not taken any further action and he is still in the role.

Given the war in Ukraine, some critics have questioned whether this is the right time for Britain to change its leaders. Others point out that Britain changed prime ministers during World War I and World War II.

When the partygate scandal first broke out and Johnson was called to resign, many conservatives speculated that Sunak might be a good alternative.

Sunak is the head of the treasury and is responsible for the country’s finances and budgets. It is one of the “best offices in the state.” Also Sunak is widely popular.

But even before the news of the fine, his political aspirations had succeeded.

The British press revealed last week that his wife Akshata Murthy did not pay British taxes on foreign income.

Murthy is a billionaire who owns millions of shares in Infosys, an Indian technology company founded by his father. Although Murthy lived with her husband in the UK, she sought “non-residential” status in British tax filings. His tax status is one used by many dual citizens. This is legal, but the optics are terrible.

Until the moving vans arrived for the weekend, Murthy, Sunak and their family all lived here Chancellor’s House on Downing Street.

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