Johnson to admit to any lockdown police fine, says spokesman

Downing Street says PM stands by Jimmy Savile slur against Starmer on Monday

Boris Johnson will admit if he is fined for breaking lockdown rules but others who receive penalties for attending Downing Street parties could remain anonymous, Downing Street said on Tuesday.

The prime minister’s official spokesman initially refused to confirm that Mr Johnson would make public any penalty he receives after the Metropolitan Police said they would not identify anyone found to have breached the rules.

But after a few hours during which opposition parties accused Downing Street of planning a cover-up, Downing Street took a different line.

“Obviously we are aware of the significant public interest with regard to the prime minister and we would always look to provide what updates we can on him, specifically,” the spokesman said.


At a press conference in Kyiv, Mr Johnson sought to brush off questions about his domestic political troubles but he appeared to confirm that the full report by cabinet office official Sue Gray will be published when the police investigation is over.

“Of course we’ll publish everything we can, as soon as the process has been completed,” he said.

In an update on her investigation into the Downing Street parties on Monday, Ms Gray said she could not publish the full report while police were investigating 12 events that may have been in serious breach of lockdown rules. But she blamed a “failure of leadership” for allowing parties that “should not have been allowed to take place” while the country was under severe coronavirus restrictions.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said on Tuesday that he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson, becoming the tenth Conservative MP to call publicly for the prime minister to resign.

“I have never taken such action before and had hoped that I would not be put in such an invidious position. Whilst I am conscious that others will disagree with me, I believe that this is in the best interests of the country, the government and the Conservative Party,” he said.

Savile claim

Downing Street said the prime minister stood over his claim in the House of Commons on Monday that Labour leader Keir Starmer was responsible for failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Former Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith said Mr Johnson should withdraw what he described as his "smear" against the Labour leader.

“False and baseless personal slurs are dangerous, corrode trust and can’t just be accepted as part of the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate,” he said.

Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle said Mr Johnson had not broken parliamentary rules by repeating the falsehood, which has been propagated by far-right conspiracy theories. But he made clear that he disapproved of it.

“While they may not have been disorderly, I am far from satisfied that the comments in question were appropriate on this occasion. I want to see more compassionate, reasonable politics in this house, and that sort of comment can only inflame opinions and generate disregard for this house,” he said.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times