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Boris Johnson to be fined over lockdown parties

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to be personally fined over parties held in violation of COVID-19 lockdown rules.

A government spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Johnson and Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, have been notified "that the Metropolitan police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices," The Guardian reports. It wasn't immediately clear what the fines would be. 

Earlier this year, Johson apologized as a series of reports detailed gatherings held by the U.K. government allegedly in violation of COVID-19 restrictions, including one in the garden of 10 Downing Street that Johnson briefly attended in May 2020. "I know that people up and down the country have made huge sacrifices throughout this pandemic, and I understand the anger, the rage that they feel at the thought that people in Downing Street were not following those rules," he said. 

In January, London's Metropolitan Police said they were investigating the series of parties "in relation to potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations." The investigation is continuing as of Tuesday and has made "over 50 referrals for fixed penalty notices" thus far, according to The New York Times. The Times noted this fine will make Johnson the "first holder of his office to be found breaking the law in living memory." 

Johnson faced calls to resign when the lockdown parties were initially revealed, and some critics reiterated those calls on Tuesday. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer tweeted that Johnson and Sunak "have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public" and "must both resign," adding, "Britain deserves better." 

Civil servant Sue Gray, who was tasked with investigating the lockdown parties, previously criticized Johnson's government for "failures of leadership and judgment," concluding, "Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify."