‘Partygate’: Boris Johnson likely to receive more fines, minister resigns | Top points
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to resign after he and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Cabinet, were fined by the Metropolitan Police for violating Covid-19 related rules at a time when the nation was under a strict lockdown. Both Johnson and Sunak defied rules by attending large indoor gatherings, including on June 19, 2020, on the occasion of the former’s 56th birthday. The episode has been dubbed ‘partygate’ by the British press.
Here are some latest developments in ‘partygate’ scandal:
(1.) According to The Guardian, the Conservative Party leader is likely to receive three more fines for lockdown breaches. These would be for events that are yet to be fully investigated by the police, the report said.
(2.) Johnson, however, refused to demit office, as he instead offered an apology. “I understand the anger that many feel that I, myself, fell short when it came to observing the very rules which the government I lead had introduced to protect the public. And I accept in all sincerity that people had the right to expect better. And now I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people,” the premier said late Tuesday.
(3.) On Wednesday, David Wolfson, the minister for justice, resigned over the episode, criticising the 57-year-old leader for ‘repeated rule-breaking and breaches of criminal law in the Downing Street.’ Johnson is the first sitting British PM to have broken a law.
(4.) Transport minister Grant Shapps, on the other hand, jumped to Johnson’s defence. “I’m not saying that he isn’t a flawed individual. We’re all flawed in different ways. But the question is, did somebody set out to do these things with malice?” he told Sky News.
(5.) Sunak, meanwhile, saw his approval ratings tumble, as these turned negative for the first time since he took office. According to the latest monthly poll published by Savanta Comres, released on Wednesday, he posted a net rating of minus 20, down 26 points in a month.
(With agency inputs)
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