The first Conservative has resigned after the Met Police issued more than 50 fines for lockdown breaches, including to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. 

In a letter written to the Prime Minister, justice minister David Wolfson said it was a matter of the Prime Minister’s “own conduct” as well as the actual events.

Lord Wolfson is a Conservative peer in the House of Lords and was appointed as a minister in December 2020. 

He said the “repeated rule-breaking, and breaches of the criminal law” in No 10 had caused him to submit his resignation as justice minister.

He wrote: “Justice may often be a matter of courts and procedure, but the rule of law is something else – a constitutional principle which, at its root, means that everyone in a state, and indeed the state itself, is subject to the law.

“I regret that recent disclosures lead to the inevitable conclusion that there was repeated rule-breaking, and breaches of the criminal law, in Downing Street.

“I have – again, with considerable regret – come to the conclusion that the scale, context and nature of those breaches mean that it would be inconsistent with the rule of law for that conduct to pass with constitutional impunity, especially when many in society complied with the rules at great personal cost, and others were fined or prosecuted for similar, and sometimes apparently more trivial, offences.

“It is not just a question of what happened in Downing Street, or your own conduct. It is also, and perhaps more so, the official response to what took place.

“As we obviously do not share that view of these matters, I must ask you to accept my resignation.”

Mr Johnson said it “did not occur” to him that the gathering in the Cabinet Room on June 19 2020 to mark his 56th birthday was a violation of coronavirus rules, but that he “now humbly accepts” he did breach Covid-19 laws.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement on Tuesday evening: “I can confirm I have received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police with regards to a gathering held on June 19 in Downing Street.

“I offer an unreserved apology.

“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 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 challenging time.”

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