These students were fined for lockdown parties – now they want their money back

It has emerged that Boris Johnson attended a drinks party, not long after introducing a strict lockdown at the start of the pandemic


This week, Boris Johnson has become embroiled in a scandal that could potentially result in him losing his role as Prime Minister. It emerged that he attended a BYOB drinks bash in the back garden of No.10 Downing Street back in May 2020. This was shortly after he himself had introduced a strict lockdown forbidding people from meeting up at all, let alone having parties.

Those flouting lockdown measures during the pandemic have often been lumped with hefty fines. Unsurprisingly, many are really pissed off that there appeared to be one rule for the government and another for them. With that in mind, The Tab spoke to several students who were fined for having parties or gatherings during the pandemic and who now want their money back.

Callum – Newcastle

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Callum was out for drinks in Newcastle for a friend’s birthday back in October 2021. At the time, you could only have six per table, so his larger group was divided between several tables across the bar.

He went back to his house to continue the celebrations. “Towards the end of the evening the police came and at the time there were two other people,” he said. One was the girlfriend of Callum’s housemate while the other was a friend who was living alone.

The police fined them £100 each, with Callum describing their approach as “very aggressive and hostile”. After hearing the news of Boris’s Downing Street bash, Callum is understandably pissed off.

“Having sacrificed a lot of my time and my life trying to help a worthwhile cause, to have the people who have put those measures in not follow them themselves is just very demoralising, depressing, insulting and genuinely terrible.

“I don’t have any faith in the government, neither do the young people I know and I think it’s time for him to resign.”

David – Glasgow

David had been at the park with friends back in May 2021. He brought five people back to his flat in Glasgow when the police rocked up and charged them with negligence. Six months later David got a £125 fine in the post.

David told The Tab: “I think it was the fact we didn’t just get a fine – we thought we had the risk of getting a fine if we were caught meeting indoors – but a criminal charge. If they’re going to go that far and treat us like criminals then that’s where I have a problem.

“Because as far as I know Bojo and his pals haven’t even been fined never mind held accountable criminally.”

David also objects to the fact that at the time, people could socialise in hospitality settings but not at home. “We’re all students and it’s just not possible to go out and spend money every single day just to see your friends,” he says.

Mia – Nottingham

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Mia and her friends were fined £800 each (reduced to £400) for going to a party where there were 30 people in attendance. This was back in March 2021, and at the time Mia said that parties like this were quite common in Nottingham.

“Some houses got away with it, others didn’t. We were just the unlucky ones, I guess,” she said.

Asked if she wants her money back, Mia said, “100 per cent,” describing Boris Johnson and his government as “very hypocritical”.

Jess – Edinburgh

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Jess was at her flatmate’s 21st birthday back in February 2021. “We couldn’t bear the thought of not celebrating for him,” she said. “Especially with the toll the lockdowns had taken on all of us mentally. So we went to a friend’s. There were eight of us in total. We must have attracted the attention of the neighbours because the police were called and all eight of us got fined.”

Jess was fined £60 and is now very angry to hear of the ongoings at Downing Street. “Honestly it enrages me,” Jess said. “I was willing to give Boris the benefit of the doubt throughout with various mistakes and fumbles, as he was running the country in unprecedented times.

“However, when the news broke about Boris’ party, the double standards and audacity of the government just stung, as all of us were suffering and living in fear whilst they were blatantly flouting the rules they created, without concern for the consequences.”

Emma* – Bristol

On January 4th last year, the government announced a national lockdown, prohibiting household mixing apart from meeting up with one other person outside to exercise. All non-essential hospitality was closed.

One week later, Bristol student Emma was at a house party when the police rocked up and started handing out fines. Emma was fined £800 which was reduced to £400 because she paid it back within a month.

Now, she thinks that Boris “should also be fined” and that “saying he didn’t know he was at a party is just embarrassing”.

Josh- Leeds

Leeds Uni student Josh was fined £100 around in January of last year for having a 15-person gathering in his hall of residence flat. On the recent revelations about Boris’s garden party, he said: “It’s just a slap in the face really,” adding that the government think “they can do what they want and apparently with no repercussions.”

Nicki – Southhampton

Nicki  was one of nine people who gathered at a halls flat party in February 2021. Uni security and police broke it up, dishing out £100 fines. Nicki said: “We got fairly lucky. A lot of other people got worse fines than that.”

Nicki describes the revelations about Boris’s garden party as “shameful but unsurprising”. She adds: “Everything he and the party do is to benefit themselves, with no regard for the UK public.”

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