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UK PM to be fined over COVID-19 lockdown-breaking parties

 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain, on May 26, 2021.  (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua)

Johnson's premiership has been precarious since the revelation of these illicit gatherings, with calls from opposition parties and even members of his own Conservative Party for him to resign.

LONDON, April 12 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will be fined by the police for attending parties during the country's COVID-19 lockdown, the Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday.

Johnson and Sunak "have today received notification that the Metropolitan Police (Met) intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices," a government spokesperson said. "We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do."

The announcement came on the heels of a Met statement that they had issued 30 more fines over breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules at gatherings in Johnson's offices and residence at Downing Street. The Met issued the first tranche of 20 such fines at the end of March.

A boy walks next to the National COVID Memorial Wall in London, Britain, March 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Li Ying)

Parties held at Downing Street in 2020 and 2021 have enraged the British public, who were asked to comply with the coronavirus restrictions for many months over the past two years to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Johnson's premiership has been precarious since the revelation of these illicit gatherings, with calls from opposition parties and even members of his own Conservative Party for him to resign.

The Met launched an investigation at the end of January into 12 alleged events that included a boozy garden party on May 20, 2020, during the country's first COVID-19 lockdown, which Johnson said he mistook for a work event, as well as a birthday party given to him on June 19, 2020.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray, who led a separate government probe into the allegations, said in a report released on Jan. 31 that there were "failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No. 10 (Downing Street) and the Cabinet Office at different times."

Tuesday's announcement has sparked fresh calls for the prime minister to resign.

 A man wearing a face mask walks along Westminster Bridge in London, Britain, Dec. 19, 2021.  (Xinhua/Li Ying)

"Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public," Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said on Twitter. "They must both resign."  ■