Sturgeon calls on PM and Chancellor to resign after fines

The Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday that at least 30 more fines had been issued in the partygate saga.

12 April 2022

Scotland’s First Minister has said both the Prime Minister and Chancellor should resign after receiving fines over parties being held in Downing Street.

The Met said on Tuesday that at least 30 more fines were issued over the partygate saga, with a spokesman for Number 10 confirming both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will be among the recipients.

Calls for their resignations swelled in the hours after the announcement, with Nicola Sturgeon among those calling for them to step down.

But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – previously one of the leading voices in calling for the Prime Minister to resign over partygate – said his removal would “destabilise” the country as it tries to deal with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Twitter, the First Minister said: “Boris Johnson must resign. He broke the law and repeatedly lied to parliament about it.

“The basic values of integrity and decency – essential to the proper working of any parliamentary democracy – demand that he go.

“And he should take his out of touch Chancellor with him.”

Ms Sturgeon’s deputy John Swinney added: “The Prime Minister broke the law he put in place. He must resign.”

Mr Ross, who in March retracted his letter to the backbench 1922 Committee seeking a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, said he shared the “fury” felt by the electorate at the breaches.

“The public are rightly furious at what happened in Downing Street during the pandemic,” he said in a statement.

“I understand why they are angry and share their fury. The behaviour was unacceptable. The Prime Minister now needs to respond to these fines being issued.

“However, as I’ve made very clear, in the middle of war in Europe, when Vladimir Putin is committing war crimes and the UK is Ukraine’s biggest ally, as President Zelensky said at the weekend, it wouldn’t be right to remove the Prime Minister at this time.

“It would destabilise the UK Government when we need to be united in the face of Russian aggression and the murdering of innocent Ukrainians.”

But Mr Ross’ view was not shared by former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson – who was appointed to the House of Lords by the Prime Minister.

On Twitter, she said: “Met confirms what we already knew: the PM introduced liberty-curtailing rules for public health reasons.

“This caused huge hardship for those separated from ill or dying loved ones.

“He then broke the rules he imposed on the country & lost the moral authority to lead.

“He should go.”

Mr Ross and Ms Davidson are due to hit the campaign trail together on Wednesday, ahead of the May council elections.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar also joined calls for the two to resign, urging voters in the local elections to “send the Tories a message”.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law. The United Kingdom deserves better. They must resign,” he said on Twitter.

On Tuesday evening, Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said Boris Johnson remained the right person to lead the country.

He said: “The Prime Minister has, rightly, apologised and accepted responsibility for actions which he knows have angered a great many people.

“However, he remains the right person to lead this country at such a crucial time and we need to get behind him so that he can focus on dealing with the appalling situation in Ukraine and on delivering for everyone in this country.”

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