POLITICS
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak ‘must resign’ after police fines, says Keir Starmer

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak “must both resign” following the probe into partygate, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

Politicians reacted to the news after No10 said the Prime Minister and Chancellor were among those set to be handed fixed penalty notices (FPNs) over the partygate scandal.

The pair were included as part of more than 50 fines issued for the gatherings held in Whitehall and Downing Street.

Sir Keir said both must now step down from their positions as “they have broken the law”.

He said: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign.

“The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called for Parliament to return from Easter recess so that a no confidence vote could be held – although only Mr Johnson or the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg can order MP back.

He added: “This is a government in crisis neglecting a country in crisis. Parliament must be recalled for a vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister.”

Labour deputy Angela Rayner said: “The Prime Minister’s defence has been blown out of the water.

“He told the country all the rules were followed in Downing Street – but that was a lie. Widespread criminality took place at the heart of his Government.”

Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda, said the Prime Minister and Mr Sunak no longer had a defence as he called on Tory MPs to “get them to go”.

In defence of Mr Johnson, Liz Truss said the PM had apologised and taken responsibility for what happened.

In a tweet, Foreign Secretary said: “The Prime Minister has apologised and taken responsibility for what happened in Downing Street.

“He and the Chancellor are delivering for Britain on many fronts including on the international security crisis we face. They have my 100% backing.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “At end of 2020 I was unable to visit my dad in hospital for (four months), so share the anger felt about Downing (Street) fines.

“But I also recognize PM has apologised, accepted responsibility & reformed No10. Now, as he leads the West’s response to (Vladimir) Putin’s evil war he has my full support.”

Treasury minister Simon Clarke has give his “full support” to both the Prime Minister and Chancellor.

Mr Clarke said on Twitter: “The PM and Chancellor have my full support. Their efforts during the pandemic have ensured the UK is now free of restrictions and avoided economic catastrophe. I for one am grateful to them for everything they have done for our country.

“The PM has apologised and accepted the police’s decision today. He has accepted Sue Gray’s recommendations in full and instituted a comprehensive programme of reform in No 10. It’s time to get on with the job of governing at a crucial time at home and abroad.”

Tory MP for North Thanet Sir Roger Gale said now is not the time to “unseat” the Prime Minister.

Although he said Mr Johnson had “effectively misled the House of Commons”, Sir Roger warned ousting the Prime Minister would play into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

He added: “My main concern is that we don’t rock the boat and give Putin the comfort of thinking that the alliance, the Nato alliance particularly, but the coalition that’s been put together to sanction Putin and all his works, is unstable. That’s absolutely of paramount importance.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross also said it “wouldn’t be right” to remove the Prime Minister during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Mr Ross said: “The public are rightly furious at what happened in Downing Street during the pandemic. I understand why they are angry and share their fury.

“The behaviour was unacceptable. The Prime Minister now needs to respond to these fines being issued.

“However, as I’ve made very clear, in the middle of war in Europe, when Vladimir Putin is committing war crimes and the UK is Ukraine’s biggest ally, as President (Volodymyr) Zelensky said at the weekend, it wouldn’t be right to remove the Prime Minister at this time.

“It would destabilise the UK Government when we need to be united in the face of Russian aggression and the murdering of innocent Ukrainians.”

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden tweeted: “The Prime Minister has provided a full explanation and apology for what happened in Downing Street.

“At a time when we face an energy crisis and conflict in Ukraine, I’m fully behind him in getting on with the job.”

England’s Covid lockdown fines for a first offence began at £60 in March 2020 before increasing to £100 in May 2020 and then £200 in September 2020.

Each fine, however, halves if paid within a fortnight.

Reacting to the news, Andrew Bridgen MP for North West Leicestershire said: “I am pleased that the police have investigated this matter thoroughly , but very disappointed that so many in number 10 including the PM were found to have breached the rules they set for the rest of us.

“This is not the time to remove the PM given the international situation,but this is not the end of this matter.”

Commenting on the fines for Mr Johnson and the Chancellor, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Matt Fowler insisted the Prime Minister must step down.

“There you have it- it’s now indisputable that whilst bereaved families were unable to be at their loved ones’ sides in their last moments, or stood at their funerals alone, the people responsible for protecting us in Downing St were partying and rule breaking en masse,” he said.

“The man responsible for that culture is the Prime Minister. The same man that looked bereaved families in the eye last year and told us that he had done ‘everything he could to protect their loved ones’.

“If Boris Johnson had any decency he would do the right thing and resign immediately.”

Source: Standard.co.uk

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