Boris Johnson’s non-resignation in context — other people resigned for far less

Tobias Stone
3 min readMay 25, 2022
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Boris Johnson has not resigned, and has not been fired by his party. He was fined for breaking the law, attending parties during lockdown. He also lives in the most fined house in the UK for lockdown breaches. In his house, where he was in charge, people who worked for him had raucous parties late into the night, having just passed legislation that forced the rest of the country to suffer soul-crushing isolation, to say goodbye to dying relatives on video calls, or hug grandparents through plastic sheets.

Nobody has resigned or been fired. Those found guilty of breaches were handed negligible fines. The lack of resignation and the scale of the fines is better understood in a wider context.

In May, 2020, Professor Neil Fergusson, who was a significant contributor to this country’s planning for Covid, resigned as a government advisor after meeting his girlfriend just after having had Covid (and therefore posing no risk). Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said, it was “extraordinary” and that he “took the right decision to resign” adding that the social distancing rules “are there for everyone” and are “deadly serious.”

“Social distancing regulations are there for a very clear purpose,” the prime minister’s spokesman added.

In December, 2020, Two students from Derby were fined £10,000 each for holding parties in breach of the lockdown rules. The senior police officer involved said, “However, if these fines do anything I hope they act as a real warning to anyone who thinks about hosting a party of any kind. “Officers will always try and engage, educate and encourage people around the regulations — but where we find serious breaches such as this we will not hesitate to enforce the maximum possible fines.”

In June, 2021, Matt Hancock resigned as Health Secretary, after he was filmed kissing a colleague in his office at a time when people were not meant to mix with people outside their household. In a letter to the PM he said the government “owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”, adding “I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made, that you have made, and those of us who make these rules have got…

Tobias Stone

Writing about politics, history, and society. Also at,, @ts_writing