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Shameless Boris Johnson pays Partygate fine for breaking the law but REFUSES to resign

Shameless Boris Johnson pays Partygate fine for breaking the law but REFUSES to resign

By Lizzy Buchan | Mirror |

Boris Johnson has paid his Partygate fine for attending a lockdown-breaking birthday bash – but he won’t resign.

The shameless Prime Minister apologised for attending the event on 19 June 2020, which has led to fines for Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Speaking from his luxury Chequers retreat, Mr Johnson said: “I have paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology.

“In a spirit of openness and humility I want to be completely clear about what happened on that day.”

The “brief gathering” in the Cabinet Room at around 2pm on his birthday lasted “less than 10 minutes, Mr Johnson said.

He described it as an occasion for “people I work with” to pass on their good wishes – and said he didn’t realise at the time that the party broke the rules.

Mr Johnson said: “Of course the police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation.

“I understand the anger than many will feel, that I myself fell short when it came to observing the very rules which the Government I lead had introduced to protect the public.

“I accept in all sincerity that people had a right to expect better.”

But he refused to resign, saying he felt a “greater sense of obligation” to deliver for the public.

Mr Johnson also denied he had misled Parliament with his repeated denials that rules were broken – saying: “I spoke in completely good faith.”

He also didn’t rule out getting further fines from police, who are continuing their investigation into the Partygate scandal.

Asked if more fines were coming his way, he said: “If they are, I’m sure you will be the first to know.”

Mr Johnson broke cover after the bombshell news that he had become the first sitting Prime Minister to break the law.

No10 confirmed the £100 fine, which is halved to £50 if paid within 14 days, related to the surprise do in the Cabinet Room in No10, where staff sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and enjoyed birthday cake.

Tory Conor Burns notoriously tried to defend the PM over the bash by claiming he had been “ambushed by cake”.

Mrs Johnson has apologised “unreservedly” for attending the event and paid her fixed penalty notice, her spokeswoman said.

Keir Starmer led calls for the PM and the Chancellor to resign over the breaches.

Several senior Tories shamelessly tried to defend Mr Johnson over his attendance at the event.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted: “PM has been clear about what happened on 19th June 2020 & offered a full apology.

“It was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room, less than 10 minutes during a busy working day. PM is at his best when delivering on the priorities of the British people which he will continue to do.”

But the Mirror was told that police had a photograph of Mr Johnson holding a can of an Estrella beer at the bash, taken by the PM’s taxpayer-funded photographer.

He was pictured standing next to Rishi Sunak at the do, which was allegedly arranged by Mrs Johnson.

A source close to Mrs Johnson claimed she had only briefly attended the event with her newborn baby in her arms alongside some socially distanced staff.

It comes as a new poll found 57% of Brits think Boris Johnson should resign as PM after being handed a Partygate fine.

The survey of 2,464 adults by YouGov found just 30% said he should stay on.

The same proportion said Rishi Sunak should also resign as Chancellor for being at the same event, a birthday party for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street on June 19 2020.

And 75% of responders said they thought Mr Johnson knowingly lied to Parliament about whether he broke lockdown rules – with just 12% saying he did not.