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Friday, 19 August 2022
AN opposition MP has called on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to resign after they were fined for breaking the law.
On Tuesday Boris Johnson became the first serving prime minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law when he, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching coronavirus rules.
They apologised for their attendance at a birthday event for the Prime Minister in the cabinet room in June 2020 and paid their fines immediately.
However, Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak resisted calls from Labour leader Keir Starmer to resign.
Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East, which includes Caversham and Emmer Green, said he was “really disappointed” by their behaviour and said they should resign.
He said: “When you are a leader you need to lead by example and they did the opposite of that.
“I’m disappointed by their behaviour and I think they should resign. Regarding their reaction to the fines, I’m not convinced they understand how many people were offended by their actions.
“They need to reflect on that and imagine how that feels to people who have lost loved ones or were working hard on the NHS front line.”
Mr Johnson said he had not been aware of any cake as it remained inside a sealed Tupperware box and no one drank any alcohol.
Mr Sunak and his team believed he had done nothing wrong as he had only attended the event for a few minutes because he was due to have a work meeting there and hadn’t been invited to any gathering.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said: “I’ve received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police relating to a Downing Street event on June 19, 2020.
“Let me say immediately, I have paid the fine and want to offer a fulsome
apology. There was a brief gathering in the cabinet room shortly after 2pm lasting less than 10 minutes during which people I worked with passed on their good wishes.
“In that time it did not occur to me this might have been a breach of the rules.
“The police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation. I understand the anger people will feel. I accept in all sincerity that people had the right to expect better.”
Mr Johnson went on to say he now felt a sense of duty “to deliver on the priorities of the British people”, adding: “Ensuring Putin fails in Ukraine and easing the burden on families caused by higher energy prices.”
The fines come after senior civil servant Sue Gray published her initial findings into 16 parties held in and around Mr Johnson’s home in Downing Street and Whitehall between May 2020 and April last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
Her final report will be released sometime after the Met investigation concludes and is likely to contain damning information about the culture of No 10.
The Henley Standard was unable to contact Henley MP John Howell.
14 April 2022
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