Opponents say UK's Johnson must reveal any lockdown party fine By Reuters


Opponents say UK's Johnson must reveal any lockdown party fine
© Reuters. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens after delivering a statement on Sue Gray's report into alleged Downing Street parties during the COVID-19 lockdown, at the House of Commons in London, Britain January 31, 2022. British Parliament/British Parliament/Jes

By Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – The public must be told if British Prime Minister Boris Johnson or his staff are fined for attending parties in Downing Street during coronavirus lockdowns, opponents said on Tuesday after police said she would not name anyone fined.

British police are investigating 12 possible gatherings breaking COVID-19 rules, many of which were held at Johnson's office and residence, some attended by the prime minister himself.

The investigation, which is examining 500 pieces of evidence and more than 300 photographs, is expected to last for weeks.

A limited report by senior civil servant Sue Gray revealed on Monday that alcohol-fueled events took place at 10 Downing Street while rules prohibiting all but limited social mixing were in place, and there had been of "serious failures" of leadership.

However, Gray said she was unable to provide a "meaningful report" due to the ongoing police investigation.

Johnson was pressured to confirm that Gray's full findings will be made public once the police investigation is complete, and to clarify whether detectives had fined him or his staff.

When asked on Tuesday, Johnson's spokesman said: "I'm not going to get into speculation, that's obviously the police business. »

However, the Metropolitan Police in London said they would not name anyone who had been handed a fixed fine (FPN), usually £100, in line with standard practice.

"Our approach during the pandemic has been to confirm the number of FPNs issued to individuals at particular events and to explain why those FPNs were issued," a police statement said.

Johnson's opponents said full disclosure was needed.

“I can't believe this has to be said. The public has a right to know if the prime minister is found guilty of committing an offense by the police,” Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the main opposition Labor party, said on Twitter (NYSE:).

“Number 10 said it would publish the full report. They cannot be allowed to backtrack or hide the results of the police investigation. »

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said Johnson should come clean and resign if he broke the rules.

Johnson's personal ratings and his support for his Conservative party have plummeted since party leaks emerged late last year, posing a serious threat to his premiership.

Opinion polls showed that most British voters believed Johnson should quit: 69% in a Savanta ComRes poll and 63% in a YouGov poll.

Although there is a surge of dissent in his own party, to trigger a leadership challenge, 54 of the 359 Tory MPs have to submit letters of censure and this figure has not been met.

After initially saying no rules were broken, Johnson repeatedly declined to answer details of his attendance at some of the rallies.

He later admitted to being at one but said he thought it was a work event. On Monday, he repeatedly declined to say whether he had attended a rally in his own flat above the office at 10 Downing Street, citing the police investigation.


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