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Boris Johnson has not received any further fines over Partygate, Downing Street has confirmed today, as a new poll shows Tory support in vital Red Wall seats has dwindled ahead of the local elections next month.
It comes after the Met had reportedly begun issuing fines to those who attended the ‘Bring your own booze’ No 10 garden party during the first lockdown on May 20, 2020 – when strict Covid rules were in place.
Mr Johnson has previously apologised for attending the gathering, but insisted he ‘believed implicitly’ that it was a work event.
No 10 feared the Prime Minister, who has already paid a £50 FPN over a 56th birthday bash in Number 10 in June 2020, would also have to stump up over the event a month earlier, but it has been confirmed today that he has yet not received any further fines.
It was organised by the PM’s former principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, and attended by Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie.
He told MPs in January that the Downing Street garden had been used ‘as an extension of the office’ during the Covid crisis ‘because of the role of fresh air in stopping the virus’.
Meanwhile, a new poll has shown that support for the Tories in Red Wall seats has dwindled from 56 per cent at the last general election down to just 38 per cent.
As Mr Johnson fights off calls to resign over the Partygate scandal, voters are also becoming increasingly disgruntled as the rising cost-of-living crisis begins to bite households.
The poll, by think tank More in Common, suggests the Tories will struggle at the local elections on May 5.
It has shown a plunge in support across traditional Blue Wall strongholds in the south, with seats being eyed up by the Liberal Democrats, The Telegraph reports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference on Friday during his two-day visit to India
Protesters demonstrate against Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak outside Downing Street in the wake of the Partygate scandal
Away from voting intentions, meanwhile, the poll has also revealed at 61 per cent of the public believe the PM should resign over Partygate.
That comes amid Downing Street fears that further pictures may emerge of Mr Johnson attending at other events, with the June 2020 birthday gathering thought o be the least problematic of those being probed by police.
It also raises concerns the Met has a ‘low bar’ for issuing Covid fines that could see Mr Johnson and staff receive further FPNs.
A further 42 per cent of the public said they believe Mr Johnson should resign immediately, while 1 per cent think he should remain in office in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement attached to its poll, More in Common has caused damage to the Tories as a party, rather than just to Mr Johnson individually.
And frustrated Red Wall voters are understood to be urning back to Labour or opting not to vote al all.
Meanwhile, Blue Wall voters are turning to Labour and the Lib Dems, though the two earlier this month fuelled speculation over an informal non-aggression pact at the local elections.
Across swathes of the ‘Red Wall’ battleground in the Midlands and the North, the Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates in only a fraction of the seats up for grabs, leaving the field clear for Labour to take on the Tories.
And Mr Johnson faced another setback on Thursday bowed to a revolt in the Commons yesterday and dropped his attempt to delay yet another investigation into the lockdown lawbreaking crisis.
The Committee of Privileges will consider whether the Prime Minister knowingly misled the House over lockdown-busting gatherings
The Committee of Privileges will consider whether the Prime Minister knowingly misled the House of Commons over the alleged lockdown-busting gatherings.
If it finds him in contempt of Parliament, it could recommend that he is forced to apologise, suspended from the Commons, or even expelled.
No10 was forced to climb down after around half a dozen ministerial aides indicated they were prepared to resign to support the Labour plan for a fresh inquiry.
The report is not due to report back until a separate police probe in completed, most likely in the autumn.
Source: Daily Mail