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Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak fined over lockdown ‘gatherings’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have been told that they will be fined by the Metropolitan Police for breaking lockdown rules, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed. Johnson becomes the first PM to be charged with an offence while in office, while Sunak is the first chancellor to be similarly charged.  Investigations began in January this year into 12 separate incidents where Covid restrictions might have been breached, with the Met determining rules were broken relating to ‘gatherings’ at Downing Street and Whitehall in 2020 and 2021. Fixed penalties do not amount to a criminal conviction but can lead to a court summons and criminal prosecution should they not be paid. Roughly 100 members of staff at Downing Street and Whitehall, including Johnson and Sunak, were required to fill out a legal questionnaire at the start of the process. Interviewing key witnesses began in March with the Met confirming it has now referred more than 50 cases for fixed penalties because of the probe. The first 20 fines were issued on the first of this month relating to events in June 2020 at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office building. Some fines were also issued to those who attended two events on 16 April 2021, the day before Prince Philip’s funeral. Johnson had faced intense scrutiny from members even within his own party amid calls for him to resign when the allegations were initially made. Senior civil servant Sue Gray had launched an internal inquiry which prompted the Scotland Yard investigation. A restricted version of the report was released as not to interfere with the criminal investigation, with it unclear whether the full report will now be published.