'The buck stops with the Prime Minister’ – Sunderland MPs urge Boris Johnson to quit over ‘partygate’ fines
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The Metropolitan Police has refused to name those hit with penalty notices, in line with guidance from the College of Policing, although officials in Downing Street have promised to confirm if the Prime Minister himself is handed one.
The probe into the gatherings started earlier this year and is expected to continue, raising the prospect of even more people being told to pay for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules in place at the time.
And according to Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson, the latest revelations into the long-running ‘partygate’ affair have once again showed Johnson is not fit for public office.
“We know the culture is set from the very top, that means the buck stops with the Prime Minister,” the shadow education secretary said.
“Whilst the rest of the country followed their rules, his government acted as if the law didn't apply to them. It has been an insult to the millions of people who made huge sacrifices.
“The public know that and they have already made up their minds.”
No 10 has insisted Boris Johnson did not mislead MPs when he told them no lockdown rules had been broken in Downing Street, despite the Metropolitan Police concluding the law was breached.
The Prime Minister is not believed to be among those in line for a fine at this point – despite it being understood he was present at six of the at least 12 events being probed – as he is contesting the allegations and took advice from his personal lawyer on how to respond.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said: “The rest of the country followed the rules.
"People right across the country stayed inside to keep our families safe, and we stopped seeing families and loved ones to stop the spread of Covid.
“Whilst people in Sunderland sacrificed so much, it is now clear to all that Downing Street thought it was one rule for them, and one rule for us - it is insulting.
“The Prime Minister told us there were no parties. He should take some responsibility for once and resign.”