By Charlie Kimber
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2800

Partygate fines aren’t enough for Johnson’s and Sunak’s crimes

The Tories are in trouble—but only more resistance in the streets and workplaces will force them out
Issue 2800
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak stand behind a bar and say cheers with two beer glasses illustrating a story about Boris Johnson lockdown party fines

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have shown contempt for ordinary people (Picture: HM Treasury on Flickr)

How much longer can this lying, corrupt Tory government continue? On Tuesday Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak were issued with fines. They were part of a police investigation into breaches of Covid-19 rules in Downing Street and Whitehall.

In a Sky News interview, Johnson said he had paid the fine and apologised for the “mistake” he had made. Those are empty words.

Johnson denied on multiple occasions that he knew about lockdown parties. Now he has been fingered for his attendance at them. Johnson told MPs on 8 December 2021 that he had been “repeatedly assured” that there were no parties and that no Covid rules were broken. Officially now, he lied and should be out. He wilfully and knowingly misled parliament.

More importantly, he was laughing at ordinary people. They had followed the rules—even down to not being able to visit their grievously ill relatives or going to a loved one’s funeral. Johnson created the rules, ignored the rules and then lied about breaking the rules.

Lobby Akinnola, spokesperson for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, said it was “unbelievably painful” to know that the prime minister had attended a party and broken the law when people had been unable to be at the side of their loved ones in their dying moments.

“The fact that the prime minister and his chancellor then lied about it, and would have continued to do so if the police hadn’t intervened, is truly shameless,” he said. “You have paid a fine. Our loved ones paid with their lives.”

It’s not just Johnson who behaved like this. “No, I did not attend any parties,” said Sunak on 7 December 2021. He lied. And that comes as his tax-dodging was already sufficient reason for him to go.

Ordinary people have been fined £10,000 for organising lockdown parties, and £2,000 or more for leaving their homes “without reasonable excuse”. Johnson and Sunak can’t be allowed to get away with a £50 fine. For them, that’s spare change. They have to lose their plush jobs and taxpayer-funded homes.

The police said on Tuesday that more than 50 fines had been issued. Downing Street later confirmed that Johnson and Sunak were among those hit with fixed penalty notices. The latest revelations underline that for Johnson there has always been one law for the rich and powerful—and another for everyone else. Rules don’t apply to people like him.

For weeks many Tory MPs have said that a fixed penalty notice would be curtains for Johnson. But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to strike. The war in Ukraine will be used to claim that it’s the wrong time to declare no confidence in him. And the timing of the cops’ announcement—when parliament isn’t sitting—helps Johnson. At the beginning of this month, 52 percent of voters said Johnson should go if he were fined, with just 22 percent against. It’s time to make that reality.

There is poisonous corruption at the heart of this ruling class government. They handed Covid contracts to their rich mates, handed favours to mega-donors, and defended handouts to corporations. Now they are stepping up the assault on working class people through price rises and tax increases. And all the time there is the steady drumbeat of racism and scapegoating to divide us. If ever there was a time to struggle it’s now. Drive out Johnson, Sunak and the rest of them. 

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