British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Johnson’s wife Carrie are all set to be fined by the London Metropolitan Police for breaking lockdown rules in the UK in 2020 and 2021.
While it’s still unclear how much the parties will be charged, officials confirmed on Tuesday that the three had received notification of fines from the police in light of an ongoing investigation into illegal parties that were being held at the PM’s residence at No. 10 Downing Street and in Whitehall when the UK was under strict Covid-19 lockdown rules.
Both Johnson and his wife as well as Sunak were said to have attended a number of these parties and the three of them were reported to be at the same gathering for the PM’s birthday in June 2020.
The London Metropolitan Police has said that more than 50 government ministers and officials are expected to be fined as a result of the investigation into lockdown breaches. The investigation, which is officially deemed as Operation Hillman, is being labelled by the media as “Partygate.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minster and Chancellor have today received notification that the Metropolitan police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices.”
While the amount of each fine is yet unknown, it is also unclear which particular lockdown breach each individual was being fined for.
A number of people have called for PM to resign, including members of his own Conservative government. While many of those Conservative MPs have changed their tack since Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in late February, opposing parties continue to question Johnson and Sunak’s leadership abilities.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposing Labour Party said that Johnson and Sunak “have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public” and that “they must both resign.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also called upon Johnson and Sunak’s resignation saying, “The basic values of integrity and decency – essential to the proper working of any parliamentary democracy – demand that he go. And he should take his out of touch chancellor with him.”
Since reports of parties being held in the government offices during strict Covid lockdowns emerged late last year, Johnson insisted that “guidelines were followed at all times” but soon changed his tune as more events came into light and he faced continued questions about his involvement. He later apologized and claimed he believed he was “attending a work event.”
Sunak has been under increasing pressure after it emerged last week that his wife, Akshata Murthy, held non-domiciled status, which means she did not have to pay taxes on her earnings outside of the UK. Murthy owns a 0.91% stake in software company Infosys, which is owned by her billionaire father Narayana Murthy. That stake puts her net worth at around £500M ($652M).
Recently, it was also revealed that Sunak retained his U.S. Green Card status for a number of months after he became the UK Chancellor. Holders of green cards, of course, have to declare the U.S. as their permanent residence as well as pay U.S. tax on their income.
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