Gym owner won't pay £30,000 lockdown fine after Downing Street party scandal

A gym owner fined £30,000 for refusing to close during lockdown says he won’t pay up after learning of the alleged rule-breaking parties held at Downing Street.

Steven Todd, who owns Reps gym in Preston, Lancashire, received three £10,000 fixed penalty notices for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

The business owner was ordered to close Reps gym for three months back in February by a district judge after he was found to have remained open during lockdown.

The closure order, which was applied for by Preston City Council, was issued following a series of police raids.

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

But Mr Todd has insisted that he won’t pay any of the fines which total £30,000, despite defeat in court, after learning of the alleged breach of the rules within government.

Mr Todd 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.’

In the last fortnight, allegations have been rife that a number of parties were held in Downing Street in December last year, at a time when mass gatherings were forbidden.

Speculation reached a head when a leaked video of a mock press conference showed the prime minister’s then aide, Allegra Stratton joking about the alleged party.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied that a party took place but the allegations have continued and an independent inquiry has been launched.

The scandal has led many, including Mr Todd, to accuse the government of behaving as if the rules do not apply to them.

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The scandal comes as ministers mull over fresh restrictions to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant, which can evade vaccine immunity.

Scientists today warned there could be as many as 75,000 deaths over the coming months if tougher measures aren’t imposed.

Mr Todd said he believed the most recent ‘Plan B’ restrictions announced were ‘unnecessary’.

And he said he didn’t know whether or not he would close his gym again if ordered to.

‘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.’

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