Boris Johnson hearing: We don’t think we broke Covid guidance either, say Britons handed lockdown fines

Members of the public who were handed fines for breaching Covid-19 regulations have highlighted how they did not realise they were breaking the guidance, and criticised Boris Johnson as he sought to claim a similar defence in front of MPs.

David Wilson, who was fined £1,000 David Wilson Calypso Caribbean Restaurantat his restaurant, said he would rather go to prison than pay the money “on principle” as he insisted that he was unfairly penalised.

The 58-year-old, who runs Calypso, a Caribbean restaurant in Blackburn, said he had confirmed the event with the local council beforehand and the guests attended in groups of six – in accordance with the rules in May 2021.

He attempted to abide by the rules throughout the pandemic, even handing out free food to members of the local community undergoing palliative care while his kitchen was closed for business.

Mr Wilson took the case to court and won, meaning he ultimately did not have to pay the fine. However,he said it caused him a great deal of stress and put pressure on his restaurant, which was already suffering due to lockdown closures.

Mr Wilson called for Boris Johnson to “lose his seat” as an MP if the Privileges Committee find that he knowingly misled Parliament over Partygate gatherings at Downing Street.

He said hearing about the Downing Street parties made him feel “extremely angry” and tempted to “close [the restaurant] and leave Britain altogether”. He called for all the fines that ordinary people paid to be “overturned”.

boris johnson hearing: we don’t think we broke covid guidance either, say britons handed lockdown fines

David Wilson used his kitchen to make free meals for people undergoing palliative care during lockdown (Photo: David Wilson)

The former prime minister could be suspended from the Commons for 10 days if the seven-strong cross-party Privileges Committee of MPs finds he deliberately misled the House – a step which could ultimately trigger a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.

Mr Johnson and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak both faced fixed penalty notices over their part in Downing Street parties during Covid lockdowns, but the former PM has denied intentionally misleading Parliament when denying rules had been broken during his time in office.

Addressing his fine, Mr Johnson said: “There is of course one event for which I – and the current Prime Minister – received fixed penalty notices.

“But it never occurred to me – or I think, the current Prime Minister – at the time, that the event was not in the rules and the guidance.”

He went over what happened during that event, saying he “stood at his desk” and had “a kind of salad” while “a number of officials came in to wish me a happy birthday”.

He told the Committee: “We talked about Covid and what we were doing to beat the pandemic. When I spoke to the Commons, it did not for one second occur to me that this event, the one event for which I was fined, would later be found to be somehow against the rules.

“The same goes for all the events I attended. My belief was that we were following the rules to the best of our ability.”

Hundreds of thousands of fixed penalty notices were handed out to members of the public for breaching Covid-19 regulations.

Ali Lawrence, 53, from York, received a £200 fine for busking on the street in March 2021 – but he did not think he was breaking the rules at the time, which he said were “vague and contradictory”.

He decided to pay the fine within the first two weeks as he did not want to risk getting a criminal record by taking the case to court and losing.

boris johnson hearing: we don’t think we broke covid guidance either, say britons handed lockdown fines

Ali Lawrence, 53, received a £200 fine for busking on the street in March 2021 (Photo: Supplied)

Mr Lawrence thought that he would be allowed to busk on the street, since that was his job and the rules stated people were allowed to travel to their place of work. However, he said the police “came down hard” on him.

He said reading about Partygate made him “very angry” as it was “one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us”. He added it is “flabbergasting” to see Mr Johnson “trying to wriggle out” of accountability for the parties held at No 10 Downing Street.

“If he gets away with it, it’s going to be quite a numbing experience,” he told i.

Lucinda Nicholls, who has represented almost 30 people accused of breaching lockdown regulations, said some of her clients’ livelihoods were destroyed by the fines, even though they turned out to be operating under the rules when the case went to court.

Looking at the dossier on Mr Johnson, she said there appears to have been some “quite specific breaches” that “clearly don’t fall in line with the regulations”.

The managing partner at Nicholls and Nicholls law firm told i: “I think it would be rather embarrassing for the Prime Minister to not know the regulations that he is enforcing on his people.

“I think it would be a huge embarrassment to any government official, who was actively part of creating legislation that was so restricting on individuals and their human rights, to then find that they’re not following their own rules.”

People are still being prosecuted under Covid-19 regulations. Ms Nicholls called for the ongoing cases to be “halted” and all fines that have already been handed out to be “revisited”.

Related Article

boris johnson hearing: we don’t think we broke covid guidance either, say britons handed lockdown fines

Boris Johnson hearing live stream: What time Privileges Committee Partygate hearing starts and how to watch


Boris Johnson hearing live stream, and what time he appears before the Privileges Commitee

Read More

She said: “The Met Police and the Government are still trying to prosecute people for Covid regulation breaches. I think they need to bring that to a halt. And I think they need to revisit what they’ve done to others.

“When people received a fixed penalty notice, they were advised or in writing that they had no right of appeal. And lots of people were scared for that very reason and just paid the fines. That is money that the Government should not have to spend. That should be returned to those individuals.”

She added: “If they weren’t following the regulations themselves or were confused about their own laws that they created. They shouldn’t think that it’s acceptable to put that enforcement on members of the public.”

Stuart Nolan, chair of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee, said: “People that have adhered to the guidance religiously, at a detriment to themselves and their families, will feel that there is a gulf between those that rule and those that are rules. That might cause them concern.

“If you’d been subject to penalties produced by the likes of Boris [Johnson] and his Cabinet through Parliament, and have suffered as a result, you might feel again that it’s somewhat unequal in the way that it’s been approached.

“It’s the old adage – one rule for them, another rule for us. Effectively, the blatant abuse of power and the arrogance of power – that’s what’s coming across to me.”

He said a key lesson from the pandemic is that new laws should be debated properly, and their possible outcomes discussed, rather than emergency legislation being passed in haste.

“If the situation arises where we, as a nation, are forced to make punitive rules quickly then we should actually spend some time debating the outcome and how they might be applied,” he told i.

“At the very best it would seem, particularly at the beginning days of the pandemic, it was not clear to every individual, least of all to those who make rules, what exactly those rules are or the ramifications of them.”

News Related


Housing minister defends Govt approach after last week's record high homeless figures

Housing Minister Darragh O Brien HOMELESSNESS REMAINS THE Government’s number one challenge, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has said. O’Brien spoke after the latest homeless figures published on Friday by his ... Read more »

'Profiting off a cultural practice': Hawaiians go to court over concerns about artificial wave pool

Brian Keaulana is the quintessential Native Hawaiian waterman, well-known in Hawaii and beyond for his deep understanding of the ocean, gifted with surfing and lifeguarding skills passed down from his ... Read more »

Shoppers turn to own-label products with grocery inflation at 16.5% since the end of February

File image of a shopping trolley filled with goods in an Irish supermarket. SUPERMARKETS ARE SEEING much stronger growth in own-label products compared to branded goods as shoppers grapple with ... Read more »

Seven heaven for Drogheda’s Emerging Talent Programme squad

THE Drogheda Emerging Talent Programme (ETP) Kennedy Cup squad finished their preparations with a fantastic 7-2 win away to Lisburn on Sunday. Dylan Moore’s side have gone eight games unbeaten ... Read more »

Style stakes in Kerry at all time high as Listowel’s summer meeting launches in the sun

THE style stakes are to the max at the Listowel Races this summer with none other than North Kerry’s very own international fashion designer Colin Horgan deploying his discerning eye ... Read more »

Government parties set for fresh row after Taoiseach says houses for private sale ‘highest priority’ over social housing

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are set for a fresh row after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insisted the Government’s “highest priority” in housing policy is providing more houses for private sale. ... Read more »

Twice Oscar-nominated Cork director’s movie wins big at the Irish Animation Awards

A movie directed by Cork born Nora Twomey has emerged as the winner of the most accolades at this year’s Irish Animation Awards ceremony. ‘My Father’s Dragon’ won the award ... Read more »

Iconic popstar 'signs up for Strictly Come Dancing' after bosses 'spent years asking'

Iconic 80s pop legend Shakin’ Stevens has signed up for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. Sources claim that in recent years, bosses behind the show had been asking ... Read more »

Thousands of teenagers missing out on £2,100 in savings - how to claim cash

Many people may not realise they have a Child Trust Fund Tens of thousands of teenagers could be missing out on unclaimed savings worth an average of £2,100. The money ... Read more »

Kerry road-racer Stephen Walsh fourth on his Isle of Man debut

Road racer Stephen Walsh finished on his Isle of Man debut on Sunday. The Ardfert man competed in the pre-TT Classic Road Races on the Billown closed road circuit for ... Read more »

Man appears in court after pipe bombs found in bag at Tallaght Garda Station

Tallaght Garda Station A MAN HAS appeared in court after two pipe bombs were found in a bag at a Garda station in Dublin. Tallaght Garda Station in west Dublin ... Read more »

Cork woman’s sculpture to take centre stage at this year’s Bloom festival

A CORK woman who took up fine art following a serious illness will see the fruits of her labours take centre stage at Ireland’s largest garden festival, this week. Ireland’s ... Read more »

Pilot who killed his wife with hammer could be first prisoner to have his release blocked

A former British Airways pilot who bludgeoned his wife to death could be the first prisoner to have his release blocked by ministers. Robert Brown was sentenced to 26 years ... Read more »

Crowd cheers as man proposes to Ryanair flight attendant in Dublin Airport

A Ryanair flight attendant was proposed to by her boyfriend in Dublin Airport in front of a cheering crowd. A video posted to Twitter by bystander Vincent Hughes shows a ... Read more »

Ronan Keating announces vasectomy plans after abandoning snip op two years ago

Ronan Keating has revealed that he will be getting a vasectomy in just over a week’s time. However, the former Boyzone star had previously announced that he had already gone ... Read more »

Doctor quits medicine to become a priest in the Diocese of Elphin

A 59 year old oncologist has turned his back on medicine to become a priest. On Sunday last at the Cathederal of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo, Chris Garrett was ... Read more »

Garden Rescue star Charlie Dimmock's life off camera from net worth to living in the middle of nowhere

Charlie Dimmock has been a household name since shooting to fame in the late 1990s and is currently fronting the BBC show Garden Rescue alongside the Rich brothers as they ... Read more »

“It could take me a year to write a song” – Hozier on finding inspiration in Dante’s nine circles of Hell

At 6ft 5in, Andrew Hozier-Byrne is the kind of man who should stand out in a crowd. Yet there is something unassuming about the singer-songwriter, an air of modest quietness ... Read more »

Mizzy tells Piers Morgan 'I do what I want' after 'pathetic' £365 fine for pranks

Piers Morgan has told the TikToker known as Mizzy he is a ‘complete moron’ after the prankster said he ‘can do what I want’. Mizzy, whose real name is Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, ... Read more »

Rolf Harris' final words to daughter just before the disgraced TV presenter died at home

Rolf Harris told his only child Bindi to take care of her mother, just before the disgraced paedophile entertainer died from neck cancer and old age. Rolf, who died aged ... Read more »

Ahmed Baba: DeSantis’s glitchy 2024 launch shows he could be more dangerous than Donald Trump

The Trump clone wars have begun. With Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s extremely online campaign announcement, the 2024 GOP primary just kicked into high gear. In an audio-only conversation on Twitter ... Read more »

Former Mayo defender Oisin Mullin to make his AFL debut for Geelong

Oisin Mullin is in line for his AFL debut after being named on the Geelong squad for this weekend’s AFL round 11 game with Great Western Sydney Giants. Mullin’s rapid ... Read more »

Why workplace romances are on the rise

Common lore would have us believe that it is never a good idea to mix business with pleasure, but it would seem that we’ll make an exception to the rule ... Read more »

Ahmed Baba: DeSantis’s glitchy 2024 launch shows he could be more dangerous than Trump

The Trump clone wars have begun. With Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s extremely online campaign announcement, the 2024 GOP primary just kicked into high gear. In an audio-only conversation on Twitter ... Read more »

How Red Bull keeps improving its RB19 F1 car

While its rivals search for ways to close the yawning performance gap, Red Bull is not sitting still as work continues on the car that evolved from last year’s dominant ... Read more »

Sligo Chamber of Commerce lashes Transport Minister Eamon Ryan for pulling plug on West’s vital road project

Sligo Chamber of Commerce has urged Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to allow the much-needed upgrade of the N17 between Ireland West Airport and Sligo to go ahead. Shelving the project ... Read more »

Uncovering the Health Benefits and Risks of Cherimoya: Curated by Health Experts

Cherimoya image Perspective from Kiran Dhaliwal Master’s Degree Nutrition and Dietetics · 3 years of experience · Australia Benefits It is loaded with antioxidants which help fight free radicals in ... Read more »

Defending champions East Kerry survive a real scare from Mid Kerry in U-21 football quarter-final

COUNTY U-21 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-FINAL East Kerry 1-12 Mid Kerry 1-11 East Kerry’s long unbeaten run in this competition stretches all the way back to 2018, but their quest for ... Read more »

Tralee Chess Club players receive trophies won in the Munster League

Tralee Chess Club presented the Munster League winners with their trophies won in Charleville in Division 2 of the Munster League The Tralee Chess Club, which has been playing together ... Read more »

Furious Speaker halts PMQs to throw Tory MP out of the Commons after losing his temper

Lindsay Hoyle kicks out Tory MP Speaker of the Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle kicked a Tory MP out of PMQs this lunchtime during a rowdy sparring match between Rishi Sunak ... Read more »
Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự