Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Politics / Lib Dems introduce bill to force prime minister to make Covid fines public

A pre-Covid photo of Isles MP Alistair Carmichael in parliament.

THE LIBERAL Democrats have proposed a bill to force Boris Johnson and any other government ministers to reveal if they have been issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching Covid rules. 

The Ministerial Disclosure Bill was presented to the Commons on Thursday afternoon by Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael who is also the party’s home affairs spokesperson.

It will now have its ‘second reading’ – usually the first opportunity for any bill to be debated – on 25 February.

Carmichael said that based on analysis by his party the prime minister could face fines of up to £12,300 for the six gatherings currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police which he is currently suspected of attending.

In England police can issue fixed penalties of £100 for a first breach of Covid health regulations, and then doubling the amount for each further offence.

Police have confirmed that names of those issued with fixed penalty fines, used by officers to deal with motoring and anti-social behaviour offences, are usually not made public.

If Boris Johnson receives a fine following the police investigation into ‘party gate’, there is no legal mechanism to force him to reveal this to the public, and the prime minister has yet to confirm whether he would disclose such a fine.

Carmichael said that under the terms of the private members bill, which may well get no majority in parliament, the prime minister and any other government minister who may be fined for a breach of Covid rules would have to disclose this to the public.

“First Boris Johnson lied about the lockdown parties – now he’s refusing to tell the British public whether he broke the law. It shows he holds the British public with deep disdain and is taking them for fools,” Carmichael said.

“Conservative MPs have no excuse – they know that this man is not fit for public office.

“They should back my bill, so Boris Johnson is forced to come clean. If Johnson is found to have broken the law and fined by the police, he will surely have no choice but to resign.”

Carmichael has also written to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) calling on them to rule out the possibility of the prime minister using taxpayer-funded expenses to pay any potential fines which he may receive.