Stirling Tory MSP calls for Boris Johnson to resign over ‘partygate’ police fine

Mid Scotland and Fife Tory MSP Alexander Stewart has called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quit after he was this week slapped with a fine for breaching lockdown rules at the height of the Covid pandemic.

Mr Johnson, his wife and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were handed fines by the Metropolitan Police following a probe into a series of lockdown breaching parties staged in 2020.

The Prime Minister now faces mounting pressure to resign.

This week, Tory MSP Mr Stewart urged the Prime Minister to quit, saying he’s been left “saddened” by the events.

In February this year, he called for Mr Johnson to resign, saying he was “dismayed and disappointed by the actions of the Prime Minister”.

Mr Stewart this week told the Observer: “My opinion has not changed on this position.

“As I have said before; people all over my region of Mid Scotland and Fife – including Clackmannanshire, Dunblane, Stirling and indeed right across the United Kingdom – made enormous sacrifices with many suffering devastating losses during the pandemic.

Alexander Stewart MSP

“I was then and I remain now shocked, saddened, dismayed and disappointed by the actions of the Prime Minister and all those involved.”

Stirling’s SNP MP Alyn Smith, said that he has been inundated by messages from angry constituents over the controversy. He said: “I’ve had a flurry of contacts from constituents over this whole sorry saga – all agree the Prime Minister needs to go.

“Scotland deserves our elected leaders to show integrity in public office, and to hold them accountable for their actions. This is about so much more than the career of one politician, it’s about faith in our institutions and democracy.”

Stirling MP Alyn Smith

Mr Johnson was issued with the fine for breaking lockdown rules in 2020 alongside his wife Carrie and Mr Sunak.

The bombshell revelation was announced by the official 10 Downing Street spokeswoman and immediately led to calls for the Prime Minister to resign on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have today received notification that the Metropolitan police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices,” the spokeswoman said

“We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do.”

Police had previously opted not to name those facing fines but Downing Street said it would confirm if Mr Johnson was among those being penalised.

Scotland Yard said on Tuesday that it had made at least 50 referrals for fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) – up from 20 at the end of March – to ACRO Criminal Records Office, which is responsible for issuing the fines.

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During the pandemic, a number of new laws were approved by Parliament which were enforceable with fixed penalty notices.

As lockdowns continued and were lifted, more laws were introduced giving the police and officials powers to issue ends to those breaching the rules.

Mr Johnson is understood to have been present at six of the at least 12 events being investigated.

The Prime Minister told MPs in December – after the allegations about parties in Downing Street first emerged – that “all guidance was followed completely in number 10”.

But since the police probe commenced, Mr Johnson has looked to deflect from answering questions until the inquiry has concluded.

The Chancellor – who was in the Cabinet Room at No 10 for Mr Johnson’s birthday on June 19, 2020, when up to 30 people are said to have gathered with a cake – had initially dismissed suggestions that he would have to fill out a police questionnaire .

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross this week did a U-turn on his stance on the subject. Back in January, Mr Ross became the first senior Tory to call for Mr Johnson to quit over the scandal. Last month however he retracted a letter to the backbench 1922 Committee seeking a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. Following news of the ends being issued, Mr Ross issued a statement in which he condemned the Prime Minister’s behavior as “unacceptable” but warned his removal of him “would destabilize the UK government when we need to be united in the face of Russian aggression” .

In February this year, senior civil servant Sue Gray published her report into a series of boozy parties at Downing Street. She found that there were “failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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