Johnson refuses to say whether he will resign over Partygate
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses to comment on whether he would resign over violating COVID-19 lockdowns to party, though his allies stress that he would not resign over getting fined.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to circumvent questions he was asked about the future of his leadership following his fining over partying in Downing Street after London imposed harsh COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions at the height of the pandemic in the country.
A former minister said Johnson should consider his position, and this was accompanied by a third of MPs from Boris Johnson's party going public with their concerns over the scandal the premier brought upon the Tories though breaking the law and being found guilty of doing so when the police fined him for his actions.
The conservative prime minister dodged questions about whether he had lost the moral authority to lead the country, saying he would delve into the matter in detail in the coming week.
He said he would wait for the House of Commons to return from its Easter break to convene on the matter and heart what he has to say on the matter, especially when pressed about the type of actions that would be taken against those who broke the COVID-19 rules put in place by No 10 or even if he could be looking at further fines.
Jeremy Wright, a senior Conservative Party MP, had stressed that Boris Johnson should face "resignation or removal from office" if found guilty of breaches.
"I'll be saying more when I update parliament, as you can imagine, next week. You'll probably have to wait until then for me to say more on that," Johnson told reporters at a press conference.
Justice Minister David Wolfson resigned following the fines, saying the Prime Minister's actions were "inconsistent with the rule of law."
The Tory minister said he had "no option other than to tender my resignation."
The Met police had announced their "first tranche" of penalties earlier this month, and the police refused to disclose which officials were affected by the fines that amounted to a "whopping" £50 ($65) for attending the legal gatherings.
The Guardian, however, had reported that "the only people who will be named if fined are Johnson, Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, who is also among those who filled in a police questionnaire about the alleged gatherings," and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.
The day came on Tuesday when the Metropolitan police issued their second tranche of fines, and Johnson was among those fined with the low fine of £50, which also included his wife and chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Johnson's allies have downplayed the seriousness of the breach, saying he was present only for nine minutes and that it was not a planned event.
On the other hand, it is believed that Johnson has attended several gatherings and had even organized several himself, though he stressed that accepting a fine did not mean he broke the law. His allies also revealed that he would not resign were the Met to fine him.
Meanwhile, MPs from his own party are using the Partygate scandal to push Johnson out of office, with one MP noting that "if Johnson was to be fined, the threat of a no-confidence vote against the prime minister could resurface."
Home Secretary Priti Patel has grown quieter with her support for and defense of Johnson given her role as someone meant to uphold law and order, though she gave her first public comments since the issuing of the fines.
She stressed that she would not "give a running commentary as there's an investigation ongoing", but argued that Johnson had "given a very thorough and fulsome apology and should be respected for that."