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07 Jul 2022

Eastwood: Prime Minister's lockdown parties mocks us all

SDLP leader demands Boris Johnson and his Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, both resign after duo were fined for breaking their own Covid rules

Colum Eastwood

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood: "The very least that the public should expect from political leaders is that they abide by the law."

Foyle MP, Colum Eastwood, has renewed calls for disgraced Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to resign following confirmation that both will receive fixed penalty notices for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor both received fines following a Police investigation into illegal parties held in Downing Street and across Whitehall during Covid lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

Mr Johnson therefore becomes the first serving Prime Minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law – however, both he and Mr Sunak have insisted that they won't resign.

SDLP leader Eastwood slammed the pair for their behaviour stating that having made the rules for the rest of the country to follow during lockdown, they too should have done so with the fact that they hadn't was making a mockery of others' efforts to keep family and friends safe.

He said: “The very least that the public should expect from political leaders is that they abide by the law. But it is now clear that even the lowest standards are far too high for Boris Johnson and his administration.

“While thousands of people were forced to watch their loved ones die through the windows of care homes and hospitals, the British Prime Minister, his Chancellor and scores of their staff were enjoying birthday cake and popping wine corks in Downing Street.

“At a moment of deep personal sacrifice for many, they demonstrated cynical selfishness that makes a mockery of the lengths we all went to in order to keep our friends and neighbours safe.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak made the rules. There is not, and cannot be, any justification for their flagrant disregard for the restrictions they made others abide by. Both must now resign.”

People Before Profit Councillor, Shaun Harkin – who is standing in next month's Assembly election – also called for the duo to quit saying that to stay put would be holding the rest of the population in contempt.

He added: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should be out. They are brazen liars and hold us in contempt. This is political establishment's contemptuous one rule for elites and another for the rest attitude in full view.

“Tories broke the rules they made and shovelled mountains of cash into the bank accounts of elites and a corrupt network of friends.

“Following all their efforts, Johnson rewarded health workers with a pay cut and has treated essential workers with the same contempt.”

Harkin also criticised the Executive at Stomont for decisions made during the lockdown.

He added: “Throughout the pandemic Stormont emulated Westminster's double standards. The Executive endorsed crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests and the demonisation of students embodied one set of rules for the politically connected and another for the rest.

“The Executive hit health and social care workers with a pay cut. Workers demands for pay increases and calls for hardship emergency action have been treated with contempt.

“Throughout the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, Westminster and Stormont prioritised elites, corporations and the politically-connected.

“We need a radical upheaval of government priorities towards workers and the least well-off. We have an opportunity to hold Executive parties to account on May 5.”

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