Tuesday evening UK news briefing: ‘Partygate’ fines – what happens now

Downing Street has confirmed the Met Police have issued the fine to Mr Johnson over the gathering of staff in the Cabinet Room at a surprise birthday celebration for him. 

The Chancellor has admitted attending that event while Mrs Johnson has been linked to two gatherings. 

Yet the Prime Minister is known to have been implicated in more. 

Read on for a timeline of the lockdown parties that were attended by the trio.

Punishment at ballot box

When Mr Johnson met Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, on the streets of Kyiv at the weekend, Ukraine’s parliament declared to the rest of the world: “Be brave like Boris.” 

The trip was billed as primarily benefiting Ukraine in its hour of need – but the Prime Minister needed the visit just as much as the war-torn nation.

For if it had not been for Ukraine, and to a lesser extent the cost-of-living crisis, news of Mr Johnson’s fine for breaking the Covid lockdown rules he set would arguably have finished him off. 

Yet even as Tory MPs hold back on calling for him to resign, Camilla Tominey analyses why the Prime Minister’s “partygate” fine will see him punished at the ballot box. 

Families who lost relatives during the pandemic have said the Prime Minister and Chancellor “took us all for mugs” by attending parties.

Why power corrupts

In a week that has also seen the conviction of Imran Ahmad Khan for a sex assault, and an inquiry launched into the tax arrangements of the Chancellor, it is tempting to wonder if the old adage is true that power has a malign influence. 

“Great men are almost always bad men”, the politician and writer Lord Acton noted in a letter to scholar Mandell Creighton in 1887, concluding that: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Now experts are starting to believe that the answer to why politicians continue to repeat the same career-ending mistakes of their predecessors may be found in science.

PS – As the “partygate” saga has left a bitter taste, Matt has been finding humour in the drama. 

Click on these three links for what we think are his most memorable cartoons so far on the Downing Street gatherings.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: British fighter and unit to surrender

Vladimir Putin said that the West’s economic “blitzkrieg” against Moscow had failed, as he vowed to achieve the “clear and noble” aims of the invasion of Ukraine. Speaking at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the far east of Russia, Putin said he had no doubts that Russia would achieve all of its objectives. Our live blog will keep you up to speed. It comes as a unit of Ukrainian marines that includes a number of British volunteers is reportedly set to surrender to Russian forces in Mariupol. Meanwhile, Slovakia is in talks with its allies over a deal that could allow it to send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine, amid mounting pressure on the West to send more arms to Kyiv. In other developments in the war:

Tuesday interview

‘Mum wanted to go off in a firework – a puff of smoke’

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