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Live Reporting

Edited by Emma Owen

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye and thanks for reading

    This page has been brought to you by Kate Whannel, Joseph Lee, Adam Durbin, Andre Rhoden-Paul, James Clarke, Nathan Williams and Rob Corp and edited by Emma Owen and Jasmine Taylor-Coleman.

    As ever, you can find full stories and analysis on our politics page - here.


  2. What we learned today

    Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak

    That's it from us on this subject for today.

    Events took a dramatic turn just after lunchtime, when it was confirmed that the prime minister and chancellor had breached Covid regulations. Here's what we learned:

    The event:

    • The prime minister and chancellor have both paid fines for attending a surprise birthday celebration for Boris Johnson in the Cabinet Room on 19 June 2020
    • The PM's wife, Carrie Johnson, who reportedly organised the gathering, has also paid a fine

    The apologies:

    • Boris Johnson said he "fell short" of observing his own rules but said he feels a duty to "get on with the job" and "deliver on the priorities of the British people"
    • After hours of silence, Rishi Sunak apologised and said he deeply regrets the "frustration and anger" over the lockdown breach
    • Carrie Johnson said she thought she was acting within the rules but "apologised unreservedly"

    The reaction:

    • Opposition politicians have called for Parliament to be recalled and for a no-confidence vote, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the PM and chancellor should resign
    • The Covid-19 Bereaved Families group also called for the prime minister to go, saying he paid a fine while others paid with their lives
    • Cabinet ministers and other leading Conservatives have posted messages of support for the PM and chancellor, with many echoing Johnson and Sunak's words that they are getting on with the job
  3. Analysis

    Is sounding contrite and getting on with the job enough to save the PM?

    Chris Mason

    Political Correspondent

    Boris Johnson delivering a statement after being fined

    Can lawmakers get away with being lawbreakers?

    The PM faced the cameras again today to apologise for breaking lockdown laws, while insisting it did not occur to him at the time that he was doing anything wrong.

    "But, of course," he added, "the police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation."

    He tried to sound contrite, saying people had a right to expect better from their prime minister.

    But he made it clear he will not be resigning, telling reporters he intended to "get on with the job".

    Will this be enough to save his skin?

    Read more from Chris here.

  4. More senior Tories voice support for PM and chancellor

    More senior Conservative MPs are tweeting their backing for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak a few hours after the fines for breaching lockdown rules were announced.

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid says: "It was right for the police to take breaches in No10 seriously and for the PM to apologise. He and the Chancellor are leading our country through huge challenges & they continue to have my full support."

    Transport secretary Grant Shapps says as he was unable to visit his dad in hospital for four months in 2020 he shares the anger felt about the fines. But he adds: "I also recognise PM has apologised, accepted responsibility & reformed No10. Now, as he leads the West's response to Putin's evil war he has my full support."

    And Downing Street chief of staff Steve Barclay says: "The Prime Minister has apologised to the public and brought about the changes in No10 that he promised. Both the PM and the Chancellor have my full support as we continue to focus on the priorities of the British people."

  5. WATCH: PM broke Covid laws and must resign - bereaved families

    A woman who lost her mother to Covid-19 says the issuing of a fine to Boris Johnson shows he has broken Covid laws and is unfit to lead the country.

    Jackie Green, from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, says the prime minister is "completely untrustworthy and devoid of any integrity".

    Green, whose mother died in December 2020 on the same day as one of the alleged Downing Street parties, adds Johnson should "do the decent thing for once" and resign.

    Watch what she has to say below:

    Video content

    Video caption: Lockdown fines mean PM broke the law - Covid bereaved
  6. BreakingChancellor apologises and confirms he has paid the fine

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak has issued an "unreserved apology" after confirming he received a lockdown fine for attending the Downing Street gathering on 19 June 2020.

    He says: "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."

  7. Labour criticises Sunak's 'bizarre' silence

    Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner says the absence of any statement from Rishi Sunak about his fine for breaching his own government's lockdown regulations is "bizarre".

    Highlighting the criticism Sunak has faced over his wife's non-domiciled tax status, she tells the PA news agency: "After a week of torrid headlines for the chancellor, you would think he might have something to say to the British public."

    She repeats Labour's call for him to resign, saying he broke the law while "people made huge sacrifices and followed the rules".

  8. How much is the PM's fine?

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves from 10 Downing Street in London on January 25, 2022.

    The short answer is, we don't know.

    But we can give you a longer answer by telling you what we've heard from a barrister who has thrown out some ballpark figures.

    Speaking to the BBC, Adam Wagner says: "If you organise a gathering for over 30 people in a public place or in a private dwelling you can be on the hook for £10,000.

    "If you attend one of those gatherings it can be £850."

    He says the more likely amount in the prime minister and chancellor's case is a fine between £60 and £200.

    However, an individual can get more than one fine - and the amount doubles for each fixed-penalty notice received.

    So if Johnson was issued with six fines he could be asked to pay over £10,000, Wagner says.

  9. How PM responded to a 7-year-old who missed out on her birthday

    Boris Johnson's fine is over a party held at No 10 to celebrate his 56th birthday on 19 June 2020, when indoor gatherings of more than two people were banned.

    "There was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm, lasting less than 10 minutes, during which people I worked with passed on their good wishes," he said this evening.

    Three months before that birthday, in the early days of the pandemic, the PM was sent a letter by a girl named Josephine who wanted to let him know she was postponing her seventh birthday party and "staying at home because you asked us to".

    Johnson wrote back to Josephine saying: "We have all got to do our bit to protect the NHS and save lives and that is exactly what you are doing, so well done."

    The prime minister tweeted both letters at the time, adding: "Josephine sets a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing."

    View more on twitter
  10. Cabinet ministers tweet in support of Johnson and Sunak

    A flurry of cabinet ministers have posted on Twitter in support of the prime minister and chancellor in the last half hour, about five hours after their fines for breaching lockdown rules were first made public.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says Johnson has "apologised and taken responsibility for what happened in Downing Street", while he and the chancellor are "delivering for Britain on many fronts including the international security crisis we face".

    Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, says Johnson and Sunak "made the right calls on the big issues", adding: "Lessons have been learnt and now our focus must be on the huge global challenges we all face."

    Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey says it is important for the country that the PM and chancellor "get on with the job the country elected them to do".

  11. 'You paid a fine. Our loved ones paid with their lives'

    Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group at the national memorial wall
    Image caption: Members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group, pictured at the national memorial wall

    A group of families bereaved in the pandemic have just shared a letter they sent Boris Johnson earlier today, when it emerged he had been issued with a fine.

    It says they all obeyed rules that meant they couldn't hold the hands of loved ones as they passed away or comfort each other, because they wanted to protect others from the same pain.

    "You on the other hand did not. You broke those laws intended to keep us safe. You trampled on the sacrifices we and all the British public made," the letter from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group says.

    "You have paid a fine. Our loved ones paid with their lives."

    The group asks if a new variant emerges that requires fresh public health measures, will Johnson have the "moral authority" to impose them?

    It calls on the PM to "go now".

  12. More ministers defend PM and chancellor

    Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak on a visit to a hospital in Kent

    The chancellor's deputy, Chief Secretary of the Treasury Simon Clarke, is the latest minister to speak out in "full support" of his boss and the prime minister after their fines for lockdown breaches.

    "Their efforts during the pandemic have ensured the UK is now free of restrictions and avoided economic catastrophe.

    "I for one am grateful to them for everything they have done for our country," he said.

    He said the PM has apologised and accepted the police decision, and has instituted a "comprehensive programme of reform in No 10", so it was time to "get on with the job of governing".

    Scottish Secretary Alister Jack also backed the PM, saying he "remains the right person to lead this country".

    So far, we've still heard no response about the fines from the chancellor, who has been under pressure for weeks after questions about his wife's business links to Russia and tax affairs.

  13. WATCH: I fell short in observing the rules, says Boris Johnson

    Video content

    Video caption: Boris Johnson apologises after lockdown fine, but will 'deliver mandate'

    If you're just catching up, here's a video clip of Boris Johnson's statement about breaching his own lockdown rules.

    As we've already reported, he confirms he has paid his fine and says he is sorry.

  14. Could there be many more fines to come?

    Danny Shaw, a former BBC home affairs correspondent who is now a commentor on crime and policing, points out the fixed penalty notices appear to be issued by the police in chronological order.

    He notes one of the first batch of people to receive notice of a fine was former government ethics chief Helen McNamara, reportedly for attending a leaving do on 18 June 2020.

    Boris Johnson has been fined for his birthday party on 19 June 2020, we've learned today.

    Shaw says the 30 fixed penalty referrals announced today correspond with the number of people who reportedly attended the birthday party.

    "There are 10 other gatherings under police investigation. Fifty other people were sent questionnaires. Fines will keep on coming - for weeks," he concludes.

  15. PM denies lying about following Covid rules

    When stories first started emerging about parties in Downing Street, Boris Johnson insisted all guidance was followed.

    After reading his statement, he is asked if he lied. The prime minister says he said what he did in "completely good faith".

    "It didn't occur to me that I was in breach of the rules."

    "I now humbly accept that I was."

  16. I couldn't be everywhere at once, says PM

    Asked if he will now resign, Boris Johnson repeats his apology and his desire to "get on with the job".

    On the subject of further fines, he says he takes "full responsibility for everything" but adds that Downing Street is 15,000 square feet and has hundreds of officials working there.

    "I couldn't be everywhere at once," he says.

    He adds that operations in Downing Street have since been "radically transformed".

  17. PM confirms he has paid fine

    In his statement, which he read out to reporters, Boris Johnson confirms he has paid the fine issued to him by the Metropolitan Police - but does not say how much it was.

    He says it was given to him because, on 19 June 2020, colleagues had gathered to wish him a happy birthday.

    According to ITV News, up to 30 people attended and were served cake. At the time, gatherings of more than two people inside were banned by law.

    An exception was allowed if the gathering "was reasonably necessary" for work purposes. But because the PM has been fined, it is clear the police have not deemed the gathering as necessary.

  18. PM: I fell short in observing rules I set

    Boris Johnson continues: "I understand the anger 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 the right to expect better."

    He says he now feels a sense of duty "to deliver on the priorities of the British people" which he says includes "ensuring Putin fails in Ukraine and easing the burden on families caused by higher energy prices".

    "I will take forward that task with due humility."

    Boris Johnson
  19. BreakingPM: I want to offer a full apology

    Boris Johnson has now given a statement.

    He says: "Today I've received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan police relating to a Downing Street Event on 19 June 2020.

    "Let me say immediately, I have paid the fine and want to offer a full apology."

    Going through the events of that day, he says: "There was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm, lasting less than 10 minutes, during which people I worked with passed on their good wishes.

    "At that time it did not occur to me this might have been a breach of the rules.

    "The police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation."

  20. Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries defends PM

    Nadine Dorries at Downing Street

    Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries defends the prime minister, calling Boris Johnson's lockdown birthday party a "brief gathering".

    Dorries tweets that the PM "has been clear" about events on 19 June 2020 and already offered a full apology.

    She says: "It was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room, less than 10 minutes during a busy working day."

    Defending his position as prime minister, she adds: "PM is at his best when delivering on the priorities of the British people which he will continue to do."

    Dorries, a loyal supporter of Johnson, is believed to be the first cabinet minister to publicly comment on the fines.