Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak receive lockdown fines
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The Chancellor reportedly agonised for hours yesterday over whether he should resign after it was revealed he had received a partygate fine during the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman investigation, reports reveal. Rishi Sunak was issued with a fine after attending Boris Johnson’s birthday event in Downing Street’s cabinet room.
Mr Sunak was said to have spent time discussing his political future with aides and allies, according to the Times.
The Brexit-backing Chancellor, who was first elected to the Commons in 2015, is understood to have thought he could not remain in his post, given he had previously told Parliament he had not attended any lockdown-breaking parties.
Mr Sunak had told Labour MP Karl Turner he “did not attend any parties”.
However, the Kingston upon Hull East MP only asked the Chancellor about Downing Street bashes held on November 27 and December 18 in 2020.
Mr Sunak also suffered a setback last week following revelations about his wife having a ‘non-dom’ tax status in the UK.
Despite questioning his position as Chancellor, Mr Sunak is also reported to have thought he could remain in politics and is even said to have seen no reason why the Prime Minister should resign.
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Allies of the Richmond MP are said to have warned Mr Sunak that a resignation could be considered an attack against Mr Johnson and even claimed this could damage his chances of eventually succeeding him as Prime Minister.
However, sources also said the Chancellor felt angry that he had been fined for attending the event given he was not invited and was only present as he was due to go to another meeting with the Prime Minister.
An ally of Mr Sunak told the Times: “Rishi’s view is he was just there for a meeting, and now he’s getting humiliated for something he never wanted to do.
“He is a man of honour and he genuinely is thinking about whether he can still be part of this.”
Mr Sunak instead issued a statement which said: “I can confirm I have received a Fixed Penalty Notice from the Metropolitan Police with regards to a gathering held on June 19 in Downing Street.
“I offer an unreserved apology.
“I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence.
“I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine.
“I know people sacrificed a great deal during Covid, and they will find this situation upsetting.
“I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry.
“Like the Prime Minister, I am focused on delivering for the British people at this challenging time.”
Before Mr Sunak issued his apology, a Tory source told Express.co.uk the Chancellor could be forced out of Government shortly after Brits head to the polls for the local elections on May 5.
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The source said: “I think Rishi is finished and will either resign or be shuffled post-locals.
“His lack of loyalty to the Prime Minister over partygate has come back to haunt him.
“Chinese proverb – wait long enough and the bodies of your enemies will float by!
“Boris has not initiated it. This is karma.”
The Times has also reported one source suggested the Chancellor was concerned he could be sacked by the Prime Minister in his next reshuffle having been warned by election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby that last week’s revelations about his wealth made him an electoral liability.
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