Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak fined over lockdown parties

‘Partygate’ spurs calls for resignation.

‘Partygate’ spurs calls for resignation.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered a “full apology” on Tuesday after being fined for breaching COVID-19 lockdown laws in the so-called “Partygate” scandal, but looked set to defy calls for his resignation.

Embattled Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Mr. Johnson’s wife Carrie will also be fined, as the political storm following revelations of a swathe of lockdown-busting parties in and around Downing Street threatens to engulf Mr. Johnson once more.

‘Full Apology’

“Let me say immediately that I’ve paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology,” Mr. Johnson said during televised remarks.

Mr. Johnson’s office said his fine was for attending a surprise birthday gathering in his honor on the afternoon of June 19, 2020 in the Cabinet Room at Number 10.

The Prime Minister said the event lasted around 10 minutes, and denied that he had lied about not knowingly breaking the law, saying: “In all frankness at that time, it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules .

“But of course the police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation,” he added.

Rishi Sunak offers ‘unreserved apology’

Meanwhile, Mr. Sunak offered an “unreserved apology” for breaking COVID-19 lockdown laws, echoing comments from Prime Minister Johnson, and said he had accepted and paid a fine.

“I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry,” he said in a statement on April 12.

‘Both should quit’

The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, swiftly called for the two most senior members of the government to resign.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public,” Mr. Starmer tweeted.

“They must both resign. The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better.”

However, Mr. Johnson said he now wanted “to get on and deliver the mandate that I have”, and early signs were that his MPs were currently sticking with him.

Mr. Johnson was left fighting for his political survival earlier this year after several lawmakers from his ruling Conservative Party withdrew their support for his leadership over the affair.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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