British police Thursday announced an end to their investigation of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for alleged violations of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021. According to a press release from the Metropolitan Police, no further fines would be issued against Johnson or his wife. The press release stated that 53 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued to 35 men and 73 FPNs to 48 women, for a total of 126 FPNs throughout the investigation. These individuals included Johnson, Johnson’s wife, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Helen Ball, is quoted, saying:
When Covid regulations were introduced, the Met was clear that whilst we would not routinely investigate breaches of regulations retrospectively, there may be occasions when it would be appropriate to do so….Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN referral. This investigation is now complete.
Parliament has also opened an investigation into Johnson’s actions, alleging that the prime minister initially lied to parliament about the violations. On April 21, 2022, Parliament tasked the Committee of Privileges with investigating the alleged lies. The Committee is expected to release its findings shortly, with a preliminary statement referencing at least four occasions where Johnson denied the violations to the Parliament, despite his later confession and apologies.
Downing Street itself previously issued a report of the alleged violations. Downing Street concluded a number of the gatherings that occurred over the course of the 20-month period being investigated should not have occurred.
There have been continued calls for both Johnson and Sunak’s resignation, with the loudest opponent being UK Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. However, Starmer has been criticized himself for alleged violations of COVID-19
lockdown policies. An investigation was opened against Starmer in early May with Starmer promising that if he is fined for lockdown violations, he will resign his position within the Labour Party.