Perhaps the most damaging aspect of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak receiving fixed-penalty notices for breaking lockdown laws is the fact the pair have publicly denied any wrongdoing.
Here is a look back at some of the denials made by the prime minister and his chancellor.
1 December 2021
After the Mirror’s first story about Christmas parties in Downing Street broke, Johnson responded to the Labor leader, Keir Starmer, who had asked if a party was held at No 10 on 18 December 2020.
Speaking at prime minister’s questions, he said:
What I can tell the right honorable and learned gentleman is that all guidance was followed completely in No 10.
2 December 2021
When asked on Sky News why he would not explain his account of the allegations, Johnson said:
Because I have told you and what I want to repeat… that the guidance is there and I am very, very keen that people understand this.
7 December 2021
When asked about alleged Downing Street parties held in December, the prime minister told BBC News:
All the guidelines were observed.
8 December 2021
After footage of Allegra Stratton joking about a Christmas party was released, Johnson told the Commons:
I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken.
13 December 2021
When asked again about alleged Downing Street parties by Sky News, Johnson replied:
I can tell you once again that I certainly broke no rules… all that is being looked into.
15 December 2021
At a No 10 press conference, the prime minister told journalists:
On your point about rules, I follow the rules.
20 December 2021
After the Guardian revealed pictures of people, including the prime minister, at drinks in the Downing Street garden on 15 May 2020, Johnson said:
Those were people at work, talking about work. I have said what I have to say about that.
12 January 2022
The prime minister apologized to parliament and admitted attending a gathering but at this point he continued to stress that he thought it was a “work event”.
I implicitly believed that this was a work event, but with hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside.
11 February 2022
In an interview with Sky News, when asked if he broke lockdown rules, Sunak replied “no”, adding that Johnson had his “total support”.