North Yorkshire reacts to Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson breaking the law with Covid lockdown parties

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have apologised for breaking covid regulations by attending a birthday party for the PM in June 2020. 

All three have paid the £50 fines given to them by the Metropolitan Police for the breaches, and both the Richmond MP Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson have signalled they will not be resigning. 

There was a strong reaction in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire constituency, Richmond, as the news broke. 

"I think they should have done the honourable thing and resigned a long time ago,’" Said one man.

Another told ITV News Tyne Tees: "Fine him - fine him as much as they can."

The Prime Minister also offered a full apology, but added "it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules."

Since being issued the fine he "now humbly accepts" he did break covid-19 laws.  

Critics claim though that both broke the Ministerial code of conduct. 

Labour MP for Middlesbrough, Andy McDonald said "both these privileged individuals have demonstrated they are both thoroughly unfit for office"

"They have let this country down so badly at a time of national emergency through the covid crisis. They’ve proved themselves totally and utterly unfit for office and they have to go."

There’s also been criticism from the Baroness of Richmond, who’s a former deputy speaker to the House of Lords and once chaired Yorkshire’s police authority. 

The Baroness Harris of Richmond who’s a Liberal Democrat told ITV News Tyne Tees "I’m appalled, I think they should both resign."

"Also the lying that they have given to Parliament, to the British public, because of their insistence that everything was above board (and) nothing was going wrong, in number ten, or number eleven or even the government"

She said she wasn’t surprised that neither the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor had resigned: "This government gets away with, maybe not murder, but it gets away with an enormous amount, and we have to put a stop to it. They both should have the sense to resign now."

The Metropolitan Police have been investigating allegations of parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall during the lockdown, and have now made more than 50 referrals for fines. 

In a statement released on Tuesday (12 April), Rishi Sunak said he apologises unreservedly.

The statement read: "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 deeply 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 difficult time."