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Tory MPs giving Prime Minister benefit of the doubt over lockdown fines

Tory MPs in the region have been giving Prime Minister Boris Johnson the benefit of the doubt after he was fined for attending a lockdown party.

Suzanne Webb. Photo: House of Commons Photographer.
Suzanne Webb. Photo: House of Commons Photographer.

Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were among 30 to be notified on Tuesday that they will be given Covid-19 fixed penalty tickets for socialising in Downing Street offices.

They were fined following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police which has been investigating coronavirus rule breaches in Government during the height of the pandemic crisis.

Giving her reaction Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb said: "As I have always said, anyone who broke the Covid regulations must quite rightly face the consequences and be fined.

"Parliament is in recess. I will want to hear what the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have to say and more details too. I would also like to be able to talk to my colleagues and my constituents. When that has happened, I will make a further statement."

Speaking to BBC News, Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant insisted that he understood the public's frustration over the matter, but that he was standing by Mr Johnson. He also said due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis this was not the right time for the Prime Minister to resign.

Mr Fabricant said: "Those rules were made to prevent people from spreading disease - they would not have thought that people who were working together on a day-to-day basis, like nurses, were spreading it."

But he pointed out that the virus had spread "pretty quickly" in Downing Street with Mr Johnson ending up in a critical condition in hospital, and Mr Sunak and the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock also infected.

Responding to Mr Fabricant's comments Jackie Green of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said she did not think the Lichfield MP understood the depth of public feeling.

"His comments would be laughable if they weren't so terrible", she said.

The group also said it was unbelievably painful that while families could not comfort each other at funerals, the Prime Minister and the chancellor broke the rules.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said both men had repeatedly lied and should resign.

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