Justice minister quits over Boris Johnson’s ‘partygate’ fine

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By Thomas Connelly on


Commercial barrister Lord Wolfson slams ‘repeated rule-breaking, and breaches of the criminal law, in Downing Street’

Lord Wolfson

Lord Wolfson has quit as justice minister over the “scale, context and nature” of breaches of Covid regulations in Downing Street.

The commercial barrister’s decision came just 24 hours after it emerged Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined for attending a party in No 10 during lockdown, and will likely heap pressure on other legally-minded ministers to do the same.

In a letter to the PM yesterday afternoon, Tory peer and QC Wolfson said: “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.”

Continuing, the now ex-justice minister said “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 while 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”.

Wolfson, who was called to the bar in 1992, quit magic circle super-set One Essex Court in 2020 to take up the unpaid ministerial role. The move now paves the way for Wolfson to return to his high-paying gig at the bar, legal affairs journalist Joshua Rozenberg reports.

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Responding to the news, Johnson said he was “sorry to receive” Wolfson’s resignation, while Justice Secretary Dominic Raab described him as a “world-class lawyer” whose “wisdom & intellect will be sorely missed in govt”.

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