Cabinet minister insists PM is ‘human’ after partygate fines Yorkshire News

Both Johnson and Foreign Minister Rishi Sunak have been penalized for attending the Cabinet Room meeting to mark the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday on June 19, 2020.

The couple apologized on Tuesday and confirmed that they had paid the fines imposed by the Metropolitan Police.

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But they resisted calls to resign, insisting they were eager to get on with the job.

A police officer gestures to colleagues outside 10 Downing Street, in Westminster, London.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the prime minister on Wednesday morning, saying he is “humane” and did not knowingly break the law.

Asked on Sky News how Johnson could “stay in office”, he said: “We’re all human, people make mistakes sometimes.”

It comes as dozens of Conservative MPs have shown their support for the prime minister on social media, with cabinet ministers praising his leadership through Covid and Brexit and pointing to the war in Ukraine.

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Instead, the Labor Party has joined a chorus of demands for the House of Commons to be recalled from its two-week Easter break to allow the prime minister to “deliver his resignation” in person to MPs.

The latest fines came in a further tranche of fixed fine notices (FPNs) announced by Scotland Yard in connection with Operation Hillman, which is investigating possible Covid breaches at Downing Street and Whitehall.

More than 50 citations have been referred to the Acro Criminal Records Office since the investigation began.

Johnson did not rule out the possibility that he could be fined again for other events.

He reportedly attended six of the 12 being investigated.

Speaking to Sky News about the prime minister’s fine, Shapps said Johnson is “incredibly embarrassed about the whole thing”.

“It has been a very high-profile job and rightfully so, the police are investigating, they come to their point of view independently,” he said.

“He has apologized, he has accepted responsibility. He has paid a £50 fine.

“The question, I guess, your question goes to the heart of, you know: did he set out to do this? Was it something that was done maliciously, with intent?

“And the answer, of course, is no. It’s something that happened by mistake, and like I said, I’ve talked to him, he’s incredibly embarrassed about the whole thing.

“He knows it was stupid, indefensible. But he did not set out to break the law, and he has paid the fixed fine notice well, and he has a very big job to do.”

Asked what it takes for the Prime Minister to leave office, Shapps said: “We live in a democracy and people have every right to vote, to decide what happens to their representatives.”

It also emerged on Tuesday that Carrie Johnson, the wife of Mr. Johnson, had received and paid a fine in connection with the June 19, 2020 event, in which, according to Northern Ireland Minister Conor Burns, the first minister was “ambushed with a cake”.

Reports have suggested that as many as 30 people attended the do and sang Happy Birthday.

The Labor Party’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, said Johnson and Sunak did not seem to understand how “deeply offensive” their breaches of the rules were, and called for “new leadership”.

She said the prime minister’s claim that he unknowingly broke the rules was not a sufficient explanation, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He’s still fuming and saying, oh, he still didn’t realize that I was breaking the rules and it just happened. being in this room at that time… It’s just not good enough.

“People have never, collectively or personally, made the sacrifices that were made during the pandemic outside of war and the Prime Minister and Chancellor still don’t seem to understand how deeply offensive it is, especially to those who lost loved ones, or that they were not there for the birth of their child, or for the death of a loved one.”

Asked whether Parliament could be called back to discuss the issue, as the Labor Party has urged, Shapps told BBC Breakfast: “We will meet again next week; it is the Easter weekend in the middle. Therefore, there will be many opportunities. The Opposition is doing what you would expect the Opposition to do and that is absolutely fine.”

Speaking to announcers at his country residence, Checkers, on Tuesday, Johnson said it “didn’t occur to him” at the time that the match he was fined for might be breaking Covid rules.

“There was a brief meeting in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2 pm that lasted less than 10 minutes, during which the people I work with kindly conveyed their good wishes to me,” he said.

“And I have to say quite frankly at the time that it did not occur to me that this could have been a rule violation.”

He added: “I now humbly accept that it was. But I think the best thing I can do now is, having paid the fine, to focus on the job at hand. That is…

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This notice was published: 2022-04-13 08:56:28

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