Tory chairman says ‘quite a speculation’ to think PM will receive more fines

Boris Johnson has already received one fine as part of a police probe into alleged parties held in No 10 during England’s Covid lockdowns.

24 April 2022

The Tory Party chairman said it is “quite a speculation” to suggest the Prime Minister will receive further fines as part of the police investigation into claims of lockdown parties in No 10.

Downing Street is said to be braced for Boris Johnson to receive a second fixed-penalty notice (FPN) after police reportedly began issuing fines on Friday relating to a “bring your own bottle” drinks do in the No 10 garden on May 20 2020.

Oliver Dowden appeared to argue it was not a sure bet that the Conservative Party leader would be slapped with a second £50 punishment for breaking his own coronavirus laws.

The Cabinet minister, asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme about the prospect of additional fines for Mr Johnson, said: “I think in relation to these fines, we just have to let the police investigation happen.

“I think it is quite a speculation to assume there will be more fines issued.”

No 10 said on Friday the Prime Minister had not been fined in relation to the BYOB gathering, but he has previously admitted attending the gathering, held during England’s first lockdown, for around 25 minutes.

Mr Johnson has insisted to MPs that he believed it was a work event to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic.

The Metropolitan Police has already fined Mr Johnson, along with his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, for their part in a birthday bash for the Prime Minister held in June 2020 when Covid rules banned indoor gatherings.

Around 30 guests are said to have sung Happy Birthday to him in the Cabinet room.

Offering a resolute defence of Mr Johnson’s handling of the so-called partygate affair, Conservative chairman Mr Dowden said he did not think a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister had become inevitable as some members of his party have argued.

He also said he believed the Prime Minister would lead the Tories into the next general election, which is currently scheduled for no later than January 2025.

The former culture secretary argued that changing the leader of the country during the current cost-of-living crisis and with a war raging in Ukraine would create “instability and uncertainty”.

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