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13th Dec 2021

Gym owner refuses to pay £30,000 lockdown fine after No 10 party scandal

Charlie Herbert

He has received three £10,000 lockdown fines for breaching restrictions

A gym owner who has been fined a total of £30,000 in lockdown fines for breaching coronavirus restrictions says he will not be paying the fines after learning of the Christmas parties held at Downing Street last December.

Steven Todd owns Reps gym in Preston and was ordered in February to shut his gym for three months after he was found to have kept the business open during lockdown.

Preston Magistrates Court heard how there had been “at least 15 occasions when gyms were not permitted to open when Mr Todd was open for business”.

For the breaches, he received three separate fixed penalty notices of £10,000.

However he has now insisted he won’t be paying up after learning of the breaches of covid rules at Downing Street last December.

He told Lancashire Live: “How can they have a party when they want all of us lot to go around with masks in the shops?

“It’s like a two-tier system. There’s rules for us and rules for them.

“I thought there was laws for us all but it doesn’t seem to be the case and that’s not very fair.”

Several allegations have emerged in recent weeks of a number of Christmas parties and events that took place at Number 10 last December, when the country was under stringent covid restrictions and events and gatherings were forbidden.

Things came to a head when a leaked video from a mock press conference showed an aide to the prime minister, Allegra Stratton, joking about the alleged party.

This was followed by images emerging of Boris Johnson hosting a Zoom quiz at Downing Street.

Johnson has denied any knowledge of the Christmas party and Number 10 has insisted that all covid regulations were followed at any events that took place at Downing Street.

Todd said the government can’t expect people to follow any rules or legislation after they appear to have broken the rules themselves.

“If you’re making legislation then you should be following it and setting an example, not flouting it,” he said.

“You can’t expect us to. Last Christmas, no-one was allowed in anyone’s house – that’s not right.

“You can’t say that and then have parties in Downing Street?

“It’s 100% unfair.”

Regarding the images of Johnson hosting a Zoom quiz, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “This was a virtual quiz. Downing Street staff were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks.

“The Prime Minister briefly took part virtually in a quiz to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year.”

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