OPINION - Talking Point: Do you think partygate lockdown fines were fair?

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Boris Johnson was fined for attending a gathering on his 56th birthday  (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson was fined for attending a gathering on his 56th birthday (PA Wire)

The police have closed their investigation into Covid lockdown breaches at Downing Street, but the actions taken leave a number of questions. And with Sue Gray’s report and the inquiry into whether Boris Johnson knowingly misled parliament still to come, it doesn’t seem like the Prime Minister will be able to put the matter behind him just yet.

Operation Hillman, which cost around £460,000 to carry out, investigated eight dates when gatherings took place. Boris Johnson was fined for not following lockdown rules at just one of these events, which occurred on his birthday in June 2020.

However, a total of 83 people received fines – some for their attendance at as many as five separate events – raising suggestions that junior members of staff were punished more harshly.

People elsewhere in the country were issued hefty fines for being the organisers of illegal gatherings. But nobody has been fined for hosting the parties at Downing Street.

After all the talk of cheese and wine, birthday cake ambushing, sing-songs at leaving dos, broken swings, and suitcases filled with wine, Boris Johnson’s culpability in the eyes of the law amounts to just one gathering in the Cabinet Room, which he is claimed to have attended for mere minutes.

It’s enough to have made him the first ever sitting prime minister to be found to have broken the law, and he accepted his £50 fine. But not everyone will find this a satisfactory outcome.

Do you think partygate lockdown fines were fair? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below for the chance to be featured on the ES website.

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