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Covid UK: Grieving families demand Boris Johnson resigns over Partygate fine

Covid UK: Grieving families demand Boris Johnson resigns over Partygate fine 2

Grieving families who obediently stuck to repressive lockdown curbs and laid their loved ones to rest while Boris Johnson attended parties at Downing Street have today called on the ‘dishonourable’ Tory leader to resign after he was handed a Partygate fine.  

Alan Handley, 70, was forced to bid a final farewell to his wife of 47 years Susan, 69, at a funeral attended by just eight people on December 15, 2020 after she died with Covid, acquired in hospital. The tough rules in place at the time meant that mourners had to sit two metres apart during the 20 minute service on the same day as the Prime Minister attended a Christmas quiz in No10. 

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, the retired landscape consultant, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, said he was ‘disgusted’ that Mr Johnson was clinging on to his job despite Scotland Yard imposing a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) on him for attending his 56th birthday party, thrown by his wife Carrie Johnson in the Cabinet Office on June 19, 2020.

Emma Jones, whose 18-year-old daughter Ruby Fuller died from blood cancer on May 15, 2020 – the same day that the Prime Minister, his wife and a number of officials including aide-turned-foe Dominic Cummings, Matt Hancock and his lover Gina Coladangelo, and ‘Party Marty’ Reynolds enjoyed wine and cheese at a No10 garden party – claimed Mr Johnson had shown ‘utter contempt for the hundreds of thousands of people who made sacrifices following those rules’.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, she raged: ‘He absolutely has to resign, I think that’s without a shadow of a doubt. He’s been shown to have broken the law he set, he was telling us on a daily basis it was important to follow and has lied about it repeatedly in Parliament, he has smirked, he has joked about it. It’s utterly infuriating’. 

And the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group called for the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak – who was also fined yesterday – to quit after ‘they took us all for mugs’.

Spokesman Lobby Akinnola, whose father Olufemi Akinnola died with Covid in Sptil 2020, said there was ‘simply no way’ the pair could continue in post, adding: ‘After everything that’s happened it’s still unbelievably painful to know the Prime Minister was partying and breaking his own lockdown rules while we were unable to be at our loved ones’ sides in their dying moments, or in miserable funerals with only a handful of people because we were following the rules.

‘The fact that the Prime Minister and his Chancellor then lied about it, and would have continued to do so if the police hadn’t intervened, is truly shameless. They broke the law. But even worse, they took us all for mugs.’

Describing how his grief turned to fury when the Partygate scandal broke out, Mr Handley told MailOnline today: ‘I was in a pretty dark place after my wife’s passing. Now that the dust has settled, I am looking for justice. It made so angry when I heard about the quiz that Boris Johnson held and realised that it was on the same day as my wife’s funeral. 

‘We had the trauma of her unexpected passing after catching Covid in hospital, but then we could not give her a decent and deserving send off. 

‘The way we were restricted and forced to have a tiny funeral with just eight people standing two metres apart was just agony. The loss of any loved one is traumatic enough without having a funeral like that – but we had no choice.

‘It was appalling to find out later that Johnson had been partying away to his heart’s content. It raises so many questions. The biggest question is about his competency to be in office. Anybody with any honour and dignity would have resigned – but I think it is fair to say that Johnson is without honour and dignity. My own personal view is that he should go, but I don’t think he will.’

Susan Handley died with Covid and was laid to rest the same day Boris Johnson attended a Downing Street Christmas quiz

Susan Handley died with Covid and was laid to rest the same day Boris Johnson attended a Downing Street Christmas quiz

Mrs Handley pictured lying in a hospital bed struggling for breath as he daughter Victoria Morgan watches on

Mrs Handley pictured lying in a hospital bed struggling for breath as he daughter Victoria Morgan watches on

Alan Handley, pictured at the hospital bedside

Victoria Morgan and her father Alan Handley pictured beside the Covid Memorial Wall opposite the Houses of Parliament

Grieving husband Alan Handley is pictured at his wife’s hospital bedside (left), and with his daughter Victoria Morgan beside the Covid Memorial Wall opposite the Houses of Parliament (right)

The Christmas quiz on December 15, 2020, where Boris Johnson was seen next to an open bottle of bubbly

The Christmas quiz on December 15, 2020, where Boris Johnson was seen next to an open bottle of bubbly 

Emma Jones (pictured), whose 18-year-old daughter Ruby Fuller died from blood cancer on May 15, 2020, claimed Mr Johnson had shown 'utter contempt for the hundreds of thousands of people who made sacrifices following those rules'

Emma Jones, whose 18-year-old daughter Ruby Fuller (pictured) died from blood cancer on May 15, 2020, claimed Mr Johnson had shown 'utter contempt for the hundreds of thousands of people who made sacrifices following those rules'

Emma Jones (left), whose 18-year-old daughter Ruby Fuller (right) died from blood cancer on May 15, 2020, claimed Mr Johnson had shown ‘utter contempt for the hundreds of thousands of people who made sacrifices following those rules’

Representatives from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, (left to right) Deborah Doyle, Lobby Akinnola, Hannah Brady, Fran Hall, Jo Goodman and Charlie Williams, pose for photographs holding pictures of their deceased relatives next to the Covid Memorial Wall they helped create on September 28, 2021 in London

Representatives from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, (left to right) Deborah Doyle, Lobby Akinnola, Hannah Brady, Fran Hall, Jo Goodman and Charlie Williams, pose for photographs holding pictures of their deceased relatives next to the Covid Memorial Wall they helped create on September 28, 2021 in London

Mr Handley is pictured laying a memorial to his wife Susan on Westminster Bridge after she died with Covid

Mr Handley is pictured laying a memorial to his wife Susan on Westminster Bridge after she died with Covid

File photo dated October 27, 2021 of Boris Johnson during a visit to Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey, London

File photo dated October 27, 2021 of Boris Johnson during a visit to Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey, London

Downing Street’s pandemic parties 

May 15, 2020: THE GARDEN PARTY 

 A leaked photo showed Boris and Carrie Johnson with 17 senior Downing Street staff, sitting around cheese and wine. This took place during the first Covid lockdown at a time when only two people from different households could mix outdoors, socially distanced

May 20, 2020: BYOB BASH

  A bombshell email from Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, invited more than 100 staff to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’. He told guests to bring their own alcohol

JUNE 19 2020: ‘AMBUSHED BY CAKE’ 56th BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR BORIS

Downing Street has admitted staff ‘gathered briefly’ in the Cabinet Room in what was reportedly a surprise get-together for Mr Johnson organised by his now wife Carrie. Rishi Sunak has admitted he ‘popped in’ on his way to a meeting elsewhere in Downing Street.

Lulu Lytle, the interior designer behind lavish renovations of the Downing Street flat, briefly attended while undertaking work there.

It was after this gathering that Tory MP Conor Burns claimed Mr Johnson had been ‘ambushed by a cake’.

No 10 denied a report that, later the same evening, family and friends were hosted upstairs to celebrate the occasion.

November 13, 2020: LEE CAIN’S LEAVING DO 

The PM allegedly made a leaving speech for his director of communications Lee Cain with a number of people gathered. The party is believed to have carried on upstairs that evening after Dominic Cummings unceremoniously walked out of Downing Street carrying a cardboard box.  

November 27, 2020: CLEO WATSON’S LEAVING DO 

Mr Johnson reportedly gives a speech at a packed leaving do for a ‘senior aide’. ’40 or 50 people’ were present. The aide was named as one newspaper as Cleo Watson, Dominic Cummings’ protégé.  

December 15, 2020: CHRISTMAS QUIZ

Pictures obtained by the Sunday Mirror show Mr Johnson on a TV screen flanked by colleagues, one draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat, in the No10 library. A source claimed many staff were huddled by computers in their Downing Street offices, conferring on questions and drinking alcohol while the quiz was taking place. The Mirror said a message sent by No10’s head of HR on the night of the quiz advised that those who had stayed behind to take part ‘go out the back’ when they left. The paper also unearthed the team names used that night, including ‘Professor Quiz Whitty’, ‘Rebels without a Claus’, and ‘Hands, Face, First Place’.  

December 17, 2020: Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, charged with probing Partygate, hosted a party after sending an email out to around 15 people in his Private Office titled ‘Christmas Quiz’.

December 18, 2020: ANOTHER CHRISTMAS PARTY Downing Street staffers allegedly hold their own festive party, with the PM not in attendance. Group size is also given as 40 to 50. 

April 16, 2021: JAMES SLACK’S LEAVING DO 

Advisers and civil servants drank alcohol and danced in No10’s basement and gardens to mark the departure of Boris Johnson’s press chief James Slack and one of the Prime Minister’s personal photographers. Witnesses claimed 30 people attended the two gatherings, which were held in different parts of the Downing Street complex before combining in the garden, on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

May 26, 2021: A second, formal leaving event is held for James Slack inside No 10. More than a dozen allegedly attended.  

‘It is also incredible that he was foolhardy enough to behave like he did after he had been seriously ill with Covid and knew what it was like. There are so many question marks hanging over this man.’ 

Retired seamstress Mrs Handley who had three children and two grandchildren had suffered for 20 years from Addison’s Disease, which made her vulnerable to infections. 

She died on November 7, 2020, just ten days after contracting Covid while being treated for an infection at the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.  

Mr Handley is now playing an active role in the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group and is hoping to give evidence to the Government’s inquiry into the pandemic. He is among the grieving relatives who have met Baroness Hallett, the chair of the Covid inquiry, during her recent tour of 11 cities to meet affected families across the UK. 

Mr Handley said he also wanted to see Johnson resign to help ensure that he would not be able to influence the inquiry which is due to get underway next year. 

Speaking to MailOnline, he also accused the Prime Minister of making ‘dreadful’ mistakes when the pandemic first started and being responsible for thousands of deaths. 

Mr Handley said: ‘He was breathtaking in his ignorance and arrogance, and never even bothered to attend the first four Cobra meetings about Covid. His whole approach to the pandemic was a litany of lies, deception and ignorance. This man in my mind is totally incompetent. 

‘The appalling governance by him and his Cabinet led to so many premature and avoidable deaths.’ 

Mr Handley said his wife had tested negative for Covid three times while being treated in hospital for an infection. She tested positive on October 28, 2020, just hours before she was due to go home and was told she would have to stay in for another 14 days Mr Handley has many complaints about how his wife was treated in hospital, and is claiming that he saw staff on wards without masks or PPE.  

Describing the loss of his wife, he said: ‘It has ripped the heart out of my family. She was the matriarch and the centre of everything.’ 

He added: ‘She was totally selfless, strong and resilient. She always put everybody else above herself, and never thought of her needs or wants. 

‘She was probably the most physically and mentally strongest person I have ever met. She had major operations including two hip replacements, but just bounced back.’

In an interview with Good Morning Britain, Miss Jones said her daughter Ruby had been treated for blood cancer for 10 months and was getting better. But three weeks before she died, Ruby relapsed – and by that stage she was out of options.   

Describing her anger when Partygate broke out, she aid: ‘It felt like a kick in the stomach. It felt like a betrayal that our leaders, the people setting the rules, made no attempts to follow them themselves, and it felt we deserve better. We deserve leaders who lead by example. How are we putting up with a government that shoes so much contempt for people like us, everyone they’ve asked to follow the rules?.’

Speaking to Sky News, she added: ‘She couldn’t say goodbye to her friends or grandparents, or cousins. They had to say goodbye on Zoom. That was very hard for Ruby but also for her friends and our family. And we did that because those were the rules. Now it appears those rules were for everybody except the Government. We deserve better than this.’ 

It comes as Mr Johnson faced more calls to resign over his fine from the leaders of the devolved administrations – but Tory backbenchers hit back at criticism, asking: ‘Don’t they know there’s a war on?’.

Labour has led the chorus of demands for the Commons to be recalled from its two-week Easter break and allow Mr Johnson to ‘tender his resignation’ in person to MPs.  

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said Mr Johnson has lost the ‘moral authority’ needed to govern Britain over the Downing Street parties scandal, telling Times Radio: ‘The Prime Minister has been found to have broken the law while serving in office.

‘But more than that, he lied, he lied and he lied again, and he lied about the lies, both to the public and also to Parliament. He has broken the ministerial code, he has no longer got the moral authority to govern. People made huge sacrifices during the pandemic and I think quite rightly people feel incredibly let down by this Prime Minister.

‘And it is time for new leadership, because Britain deserves better.’ 

She added that neither Mr Johnson nor Mr Sunak seem to understand how ‘deeply offensive’ their lockdown breaches are.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Miss Reeves said: ‘Fresh leadership would mean that we will have a government that could concentrate on the issues that we need to focus on as a country.’

Asked if Mr Johnson’s claim that he unknowingly broke the rules was a sufficient explanation, she said: ‘No, it would not do because the Prime Minister still at this stage, even after receiving this fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police, is still unable to say what people, especially those who have made huge sacrifices in the pandemic, want him to say – is that he was wrong, he did something that was wrong, he understands that, he understood that he has lied to Parliament and lied to the country.

‘But he is still obfuscating and saying, oh he still didn’t really realise he was breaking the rules and he just happened to be in this room at the time… It’s just not good enough.

‘People have never made, collectively or personally, the sacrifices that were made during the pandemic outside of wartime and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor still don’t seem to understand how deeply offensive it is, especially to those who lost loved ones, or who were not there for the birth of their child, or for the death of a loved one.’

Furious Rishi Sunak ‘blames Boris and Carrie’ for Partygate fine: Chancellor is talked out of resignation that could have toppled PM 

Furious Rishi Sunak has blamed Boris and Carrie Johnson for his Partygate fine and had to be talked out of quitting as Chancellor last night – relenting only because it would have taken down the Prime Minister as well.

Mr Sunak paid a £50 fine and apologised yesterday after police ruled he broke the law by attending a surprise birthday party in June 2020.

The event was organised by Mrs Johnson to mark the PM’s 56th birthday and the Chancellor is said to only have been present briefly as he made his way to a meeting in the building.

The Johnsons also apologised yesterday and paid their fines, but friends of Mr Sunak last night lashed out at the situation he found himself in.

One said the Chancellor had been ‘dragged into this’ damaging crisis because of the party arranged by Carrie, while a second told the Times: ‘Rishi’s view is he was just there for a meeting, and now he’s getting humiliated for something he never wanted to do. He is a man of honour and he genuinely is thinking about whether he can still be part of this.’

The situation marks a new low in the relations between No10 and 11. They are already at loggerheads over a series of leaks about Mr Sunak’s wife and her non-dom tax status, and the Chancellor’s own US Green Card immigration status.

Some in No11 believe the leaks came from next door in a bid to weaken the ambitious finance chief, something denied by the PM.

Mr Johnson may face more woe over the coming days, amid claims Sue Gray’s report into the Partygate scandal is due next week and will be ‘uncomfortable reading’. There is also speculation he may face further police fines linked to other parties.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has renewed his calls for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to resign as the ‘trust in them that is so important in crises has gone’.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘This is a Government in crisis when our country is in crisis, particularly with a cost-of-living emergency, and I think the Prime Minister and the Chancellor should resign. They broke the law. They were dishonest. And I think the trust in them that is so important in crises has gone.’

Sir Ed added: ‘Let’s remember, during this period, millions of people were making huge sacrifices. If they would have had a party, they would have been fined, they would have broken the law, and the Prime Minister would have condemned them no doubt.

‘And here was the Prime Minister and the Chancellor breaking the law, and the Met Police have found that. After a thorough investigation, they decided that a criminal offence was committed.

‘I don’t think you can have a prime minister overseeing the country, overseeing the laws, passing laws which affect millions of people and cause huge distress, particularly to bereaved families, and then getting away with it.

‘I think he has to be held to account. It is the duty of opposition parties like the Liberal Democrats to hold this Government to account both for the lawbreaking and their disastrous economic policy.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, said the police’s decision marked the ‘first time in the history of our country that a prime minister has been found to be in breach of the law’.

Speaking in Preston yesterday, he accused Mr Johnson of ‘repeatedly’ lying about what happened behind the famous black door of No 10.

Sir Keir also argued that the Tory leader and Mr Sunak had ‘dishonoured’ the sacrifices made by Britons who did follow the rules during the pandemic, adding: ‘The British public made the most unimaginable, heart-wrenching sacrifices, and many were overcome by guilt. But the guilty men are the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. Britain deserves better, they have to go.’

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford insisted ‘you can’t be a law-maker and a law-breaker’, while his Scottish counterpart Nicola Sturgeon said the ‘basic values of integrity and decency… demand that he go.’

The Met revealed on Tuesday that at least 30 more fines were issued over the Partygate saga, with a spokesman for Number 10 confirming Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be among the recipients. 

But even the Prime Minister’s toughest critics said ousting him when Europe faced its gravest crisis since the Second World War would be a mistake.

And the police probe was branded a farce amid claims the lunchtime birthday party lasted less than ten minutes and the Prime Minister had only salad. It was also said that the cake was left uneaten in a Tupperware container.

In a TV interview from Chequers, Mr Johnson offered a ‘full apology’ after becoming the first serving prime minister to be punished for breaking the law. But he insisted it ‘didn’t occur’ to him that the gathering was a violation of coronavirus rules. 

Though ministers and backbenchers rallied around Mr Johnson, he faces the threat of further fines for attending other lockdown get-togethers.

Scotland Yard informed Mr Johnson he would receive a fixed penalty notice for attending the gathering on his birthday, as the total fines issued during the Partygate investigation climbed to 50.

Setting out his explanation for what happened, the PM said: ‘There was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm lasting for less than ten minutes, during which people I work with kindly passed on their good wishes.

‘And I have to say in all frankness at that time it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules. I now humbly accept that I was. But I think the best thing I can do now, having settled the fine, is focus on the job in hand.’

File photo dated October 27, 2021 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a visit to Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey, London

File photo dated October 27, 2021 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a visit to Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey, London

A handout image released by 10 Downing Street, shows Boris Johnson holding a birthday cake presented to him by the staff during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on June 19, 2020

A handout image released by 10 Downing Street, shows Boris Johnson holding a birthday cake presented to him by the staff during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on June 19, 2020 

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie arrive at the Manchester Central convention centre on October 6, 2021

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie arrive at the Manchester Central convention centre on October 6, 2021

Police decided this event attended by Mr Johnson, his then fiancee Carrie Symonds and staff in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020 did not warrant an investigation

Police decided this event attended by Mr Johnson, his then fiancee Carrie Symonds and staff in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020 did not warrant an investigation

‘I’m sorry’: Rishi Sunak finally apologises over Partygate fine after six hours of silence 

Rishi Sunak apologised last night after he was fined for attending a birthday gathering for the Prime Minister.

The embattled Chancellor previously said he thought he was in the clear as he did not believe he had attended any lockdown-busting parties.

But he was slapped with a £50 fixed penalty notice by the Metropolitan Police for attending the gathering in the Cabinet Room on June 19, 2020.

It is understood the Chancellor ended up attending only because he was due to be in a Covid meeting at the same location.

He issued a statement apologising shortly after 8pm last night – six hours after it emerged he had been fined – with his silence until then fuelling speculation about his future in No11.

Boris Johnson, who also received a fixed penalty notice for the same event, had apologised in a TV clip more than two hours earlier. Labour had insisted the Chancellor’s failure to comment was ‘bizarre’.

Mr Sunak said in his statement: ‘I can confirm I have received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police with regards to a gathering held on June 19th in Downing Street. I offer an unreserved apology.

Mr Sunak said: ‘I offer an unreserved apology. I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence. I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine.

‘I know people sacrificed a great deal during Covid, and they will find this situation upsetting. I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry. Like the Prime Minister, I am focused on delivering for the British people at this challenging time.’

A spokesperson for Carrie Johnson said: ‘Whilst she believed that she was acting in accordance with the rules at the time, Mrs Johnson accepts the Metropolitan Police’s findings and apologises unreservedly.’

One source told the Daily Mail the cake ‘wasn’t cut or eaten’ and that the PM stood up ‘for the whole nine minutes’ that he was in the room. Mrs Johnson, who also received a fine yesterday, is thought to have popped in for ‘less than five minutes’.

Mr Sunak went to the Cabinet Room for a Covid strategy meeting and happened upon the celebration by chance.

Labour last night led the chorus of demands from opposition parties for the Commons to be recalled from its Easter break to allow Mr Johnson to ‘tender his resignation’ in person to MPs.

Welsh First Minister Mr Drakeford tweeted: ‘You can’t be a law-maker and a law-breaker. The Prime Minister has denied time and again that he did anything wrong. He has clearly broken the laws he made and asked people to follow. People are angry and upset. I don’t see how someone in this position can carry on.’

Miss Sturgeon also echoed that message, saying: ‘Boris Johnson must resign. He broke the law and repeatedly lied to parliament about it. 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.’

But even his most vocal critics on the Tory benches conceded it would be wrong to oust him now.

Sir Roger Gale, the first Conservative MP to publicly declare he had sent a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, said he should stay to lead the country through the war in Ukraine.

The veteran backbencher said: ‘We are in the middle of an international crisis and I am not prepared to give Vladimir Putin the comfort of thinking that we are about to unseat the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and destabilise the coalition against Putin.

‘So any reaction to this is going to have to wait until we have dealt with the main crisis which is Ukraine.’

Fellow Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who had previously called for Mr Johnson to resign, said: ‘This is not the time to remove the PM given the international situation, but this is not the end of this matter.’

The latest fines came in a further tranche of FPNs announced by Scotland Yard in relation to Operation Hillman, which is probing possible Covid breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall.

More than 50 fines have been referred to the Acro Criminal Records Office since the inquiry started.  

The progression of the police investigation will again raise the spectre of the Sue Gray report, a dossier on the gatherings compiled by the Whitehall ethics tsar which was stymied by the launch of the probe by the Met.

The Daily Telegraph reported Miss Gray’s full report could be released as early as next week, when MPs return to the Commons after recess.

How Boris Johnson’s line on Partygate has changed

Here is what the Prime Minister has said in response to the claims which have been made.

May 15, 2020: Garden party at Downing Street (cheese and wine)

In December 2021, a photo emerged showing Boris and Carrie Johnson, former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, and Mr Johnson’s then principal private secretary Martin Reynolds sitting around a table in the No 10 garden during the first national lockdown.

Mr Johnson said in an interview on December 20 2021: ‘Those were meetings of people at work. This is where I live and it’s where I work. Those were meetings of people at work, talking about work.’

May 20, 2020: Garden party at Downing Street (BYOB)

An email, leaked to ITV, from Mr Reynolds to more than 100 Downing Street employees, asked them to ‘bring your own booze’ to an evening gathering.

The Prime Minister admitted attending for 25 minutes but insisted he thought the gathering was a work event, while No 10 said Mr Johnson did not know about the event beforehand.

But his former chief aide Dominic Cummings said this was not true, and he had warned it was against the rules.

Mr Johnson said during a visit to the Finchley Memorial Hospital in north London: ‘I want to begin by repeating my apologies to everybody for the misjudgments that I’ve made, that we may have made in No 10 and beyond, whether in Downing Street or throughout the pandemic.

‘Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules, that the event in question was something that… was not a work event, and as I said in the House of Commons, when I went out into that garden I thought that I was attending a work event.’

On February 20 2022 he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: ‘You’re just going to have to wait until the process (police investigation) is complete – there is literally not a bean I can tell you about that, as much as I would like to.’

November 13, 2020: Leaving party for senior aide and the Johnsons’ flat party

According to reports at the time, Mr Johnson gave a leaving speech for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications and close ally of Mr Cummings.

There were also allegations the Prime Minister’s then fiancee, now wife, hosted parties in the couple’s flat at No 11, with one such event said to have taken place on November 13 2020, the night Mr Cummings departed No 10.

Mr Johnson told the Commons on December 8 2021: ‘I’m sure that, whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.’

It was then reported in February 2022 that PM had been seen heading up to his flat on the night in question. The Prime Minister repeatedly refused to say if he was there.

December 15, 2020: Downing Street quiz

The Sunday Mirror published an image in December 2021 showing the Prime Minister flanked by colleagues, one draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat, in No 10 the previous year.

Downing Street admitted Mr Johnson ‘briefly’ attended the quiz after photographic evidence emerged, but insisted it was a virtual event.

In an interview on December 13 2021, the Prime Minister said: ‘I can tell you that I certainly broke no rules – the whole thing will be looked into by the Cabinet Secretary, and what I’m focused on, frankly, is the vaccine rollout.’

On February 9 2022, at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Mr Johnson was challenged by Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, who said the image appeared to show ‘one of the Christmas parties he told us never happened’.

He added: ‘Will the Prime Minister be referring this party to the police as it is not one of the ones currently being investigated?’

Mr Johnson responded: ‘In what he has just said, I’m afraid he is completely in error.’

Challenged again during PMQs, Mr Johnson added: ‘That event already has been submitted for investigation.’

December 18, 2020: Christmas party at Downing Street

According to reports which first emerged at the end of November 2021, officials and advisers made speeches, enjoyed a cheese board, drank together and exchanged secret Santa gifts – although the Prime Minister is not thought to have attended.

Mr Johnson said in an interview on December 7 2021: ‘I have satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.’

He said in the House of Commons the next day: ‘I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken. That is what I have been repeatedly assured.’

The Prime Minister added: ‘I apologise for the impression that has been given that staff in Downing Street take this less than seriously. I am sickened myself and furious about that, but I repeat what I have said to him: I have been repeatedly assured that the rules were not broken.’

April 16, 2021: Leaving parties on the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral

The Telegraph reported that advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events on April 16 2021, as the country was in mourning after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

One was for former Downing Street director of communications James Slack and the second for a photographer, and they were later reported to have merged.

The newspaper said No 10 staff partied until the early hours of the morning in a seven-hour drinking session.

Wine and spirits with mixers were said to have been served in disposable plastic cups, and at one point alcohol was reportedly spilled on an office printer.

Takeaway pizzas were reported to have been ordered in and some of the revellers were said to have used a slide belonging to Mr and Mrs Johnson’s son, Wilfred.

The following day the Queen sat alone, socially distanced from her family, as she said goodbye to her husband.

No 10 previously said an apology had been extended to Buckingham Palace.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened.’

He added: ‘I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgments that were made, and for which I take full responsibility.’

Here is what the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said on four occasions about partygate:

December 7, 2021:

Speaking during a session of questions to the Treasury in the House of Commons, Mr Sunak denied attending parties when asked if he was at reported Christmas gatherings in December 2020.

Labour MP Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East) had asked: ‘The Chancellor was evasive when interviewed by the media last week but we need a clear answer on this very important point because many people across the country made great personal sacrifice during the lockdown.

‘So will the Chancellor categorically deny in the House that he or any of his officials or spads (special advisers) attended any of the Downing Street Christmas parties on November 27 or December 18 last year?’

Mr Sunak replied: ‘No, I did not attend any parties.’

January 18, 2022:

The Chancellor abruptly ended an interview when pressed if he would give his full support to the Prime Minister. At the time six Conservative MPs had publicly called for Mr Johnson to go.

In his first interview since Mr Johnson’s apology to MPs over the scandal, the Chancellor said he accepted Mr Johnson’s explanation that he was not warned in advance about a No 10 drinks party during lockdown in May 2020.

‘Of course I do. The Prime Minister set out his understanding of this matter last week in Parliament. I refer you to his words,’ he told broadcasters.

‘Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry into this matter and I fully support the Prime Minister’s requests for patience while that concludes.’

Asked if the Prime Minister should resign if he lied to Parliament, Mr Sunak said: ‘I am not going to get into hypotheticals, the ministerial code is clear on these matters.’

Pressed on whether Mr Johnson had his unequivocal support, Mr Sunak swiftly broke off the interview, walking off with a microphone still attached.

February 3, 2022:

The Chancellor acknowledged he was in the Cabinet Room when No 10 staff held a birthday gathering for Boris Johnson on June 19 2020.

Mr Sunak told the BBC he had been there for a meeting to discuss the Covid-19 situation.

‘I am in the Cabinet Room for a Covid meeting much like the other 100, 200, God knows how many other Covid meetings,’ he said.

‘You’re asking me about something that happened almost two years ago. I went to that Cabinet Room, as I did many other times for Covid meetings. And it’s right that we allow this police investigation.’

The Chancellor also acknowledged that the Government needed to rebuild public confidence following the disclosures over parties during lockdown.

‘I can appreciate people’s frustration. And I think it’s now the job of all of us in government, all politicians, to restore people’s trust,’ he said.

February 11, 2022:

Mr Sunak told Sky News he had not received a questionnaire from the Met Police at that time and, asked whether he expected to receive a form to complete, he replied: ‘No… well, I don’t know.’

He also replied ‘no’ when asked if he believed he had broken lockdown rules.

Pressed about whether he still had confidence in Mr Johnson, the Chancellor added: ‘The Prime Minister has my total support.’

Will Boris now have to resign? Will he be forced out? Can he appeal? Will he get a criminal record? All your questions answered after the PM is fined over Partygate  

Will Boris Johnson now have to resign over Partygate?

This is the question that is hanging over Number 10 after it was revealed both the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are to be fined over the Partygate scandal.

Until now, Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused to say whether he would quit if he was fined by police for breaking Covid laws.

He has promised to say ‘something meaningful’ once the Metropolitan Police investigation into Downing Street parties is over.

By convention, government ministers found to have misled parliament are expected to resign.

Opposition parties have claimed that Mr Johnson is already guilty of misleading the House after he previously told MPs that Covid guidance ‘was followed and the rules were followed at all times’ in Downing Street.

Yet it seems unlikely, for a man who long-dreamed of being in No10 before he fulfilled that ambition in 2019, that he would offer to go voluntarily. 

Could the PM be forced out?

If he does not choose to resign himself, Mr Johnson’s fate could still be decided by Tory MPs.

Under Conservative rules, if at least 15% of Tory MPs submit a no-confidence letter then the party leader – in this case Mr Johnson – has to face a confidence vote over their leadership.

The figure currently equates to 54 Conservative MPs having to write to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Party’s powerful 1922 Committee.

It has been said that, when Mr Johnson first faced calls to resign among Tory MPs over Partygate at the beginning of this year, the number of letters received by Sir Graham reached the low-30s.

However, the actual number of letters is a closely-guarded secret and is only known by Sir Graham himself. He will only publicly comment once the 15% threshold is reached. 

If Mr Johnson lost a vote of confidence, which would be secret ballot, there would be a leadership contest and the PM would be barred from standing.

However, if he won, Mr Johnson would be immune from another no-confidence vote for a year.

Gavin Barwell, a former MP who was Theresa May’s chief of staff when she survived a confidence vote in 2018, predicted Mr Johnson would not decide to resign himself.

‘Whether he stays is in the hands of Conservative MPs,’ Mr Barwell said.

‘What they decide will define their and the party’s reputation for the forseeable future.’

What about Rishi Sunak?

It has been suggested that Mr Johnson could also be forced to resign if Mr Sunak himself decides to quit after being fined.

The theory goes that should the Chancellor resign – and Mr Sunak has faced a tumultous few days during a row over his family’s finances and tax arrangements – it would place huge pressure on Mr Johnson to do the same.

But one Tory MP told MailOnline that even Mr Sunak resigning might not be enough to force the PM out.

‘I think that’s a bit priced in at the moment, so not as spectacular as it may have been,’ they said.

What exactly has the PM been fined for? 

 No10 revealed that Mr Johnson had been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) due to a gathering in the Cabinet Room in Downing Street on 19 June 2020 – which was the PM’s 56th birthday.

It has been claimed that up to 30 people attended a celebratory gathering that afternoon with picnic food from Marks & Spencer and a cake. 

Can the PM and Chancellor appeal?

Yes, both Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak can appeal their Covid fines.

The Met Police have said that individuals are allowed to dispute a FPN.

According to ACRO, the police body that processes FPNs, those who do not want to pay a fine, cannot pay, or disagree with any of the information within their FPN, can contest it and request a court hearing.

The relevant police force will then review an individual’s case and decide whether to withdraw the fine or proceed the matter to court.  

In the case of Partygate, the Met Police has said that Scotland Yard officers may decide to pursue matters in a magistrates’ court if individuals choose to appeal.

Alternatively, once a fine is paid, police said the matter would be ‘considered closed’.

It seems unlikely that either Mr Johnson or Mr Sunak would want to risk having to appear in court by deciding to appeal their fines.

How much are the PM and Chancellor being fined?

An exact sum is yet to be revealed, while the size of a fine also depends on how many Covid rule breaches Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak are found to have committed. 

Scotland Yard have said their Partygate investigation is still not complete, which leaves open the possibility of further fines being issued to senior figures.

In England, people aged over 18 can be fined £100 for a first offence of breaching Covid rules, which is lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days.

A £200 fine is issued for a second offence, which doubles for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400 per offence.

Some have suggested that Mr Johnson potentially faces fines of up to £12,300 if reports of his attendance at rule-breaking gatherings are all found to be true.

When will the PM pay his fine?

Those who recieve a fine for breaching Covid rules have to pay their FPN in full within 28 days, unless otherwise stated, from the date of their letter informing them they have been penalised.

Payment can be made online or via cheque.

Some fines are subject to a 14-day ‘grace period’, which provides an opportunity for those penalised to pay a reduced amount.

However, this grace period – which only applies to some FPNs – cannot be extended if payment is not made before the deadline.

When was the last time a sitting PM was penalised for having broken the law?

Never. Mr Johnson has created history with his Covid fine.  

Will the PM and Chancellor now have a criminal record?

Not necessarily.

According to ACRO, fines issued for Covid offences are non-recordable.

This means, whether an FPN is paid or contested, it will not be recorded on the Police National Computer, although local records may be held by the relevant force.  

What parties were there?

Twelve alleged lockdown-busting parties held between 2020 and 2021 are being investigated by Scotland Yard.

They include a gathering held in the Downing Street garden, an event on Mr Johnson’s 56th birthday, parties in the PM’s Downing Street flat, a Number 10 Christmas party, and boozy leaving dos on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. 

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