Partygate: Met Police issue around 50 more fines in Downing Street investigation into Covid lockdown breaches

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More than 100 fines have now been issued by the Metropolitan Police over breaches of Covid regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street

At least 50 more fines have been issued by the Metropolitan Police as part of its investigation into Covid lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

The force said more than 100 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been handed out over coronavirus regulation breaches in its latest update on Thursday (12 May).

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Around 50 more fines have been issued by police in the ‘partygate’ investigation (Photo: Getty Images)Around 50 more fines have been issued by police in the ‘partygate’ investigation (Photo: Getty Images)
Around 50 more fines have been issued by police in the ‘partygate’ investigation (Photo: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

A total of 20 fines were first issued at the end of March, followed by more than 30 last month. This means that around 50 additional fines have been issued in the latest wave, bringing the total to more than 100.

The force said: “As of Thursday May 12, Operation Hillman, the investigation into breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street, has made more than 100 referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office.

“These referrals have continued to be made throughout the period since our last update on Tuesday April 12 and the investigation remains live.”

The identities of those who have received fines will not be disclosed by police, as is normal practice with the issuing of FPNs, but Downing Street has made clear that it will public if further fines are received by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor or the Cabinet Secretary.

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It is understood Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not received another fine int he latest update.

No 10 previously confirmed fines were received by Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Rishi Sunak within hours of the FPN being issued.

All three were issued with a £50 penalty last month for attending a birthday party for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room in Downing Street on 19 June 2020.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner are currently under investigation by Durham Police over an event in April last year which allegedly broke Covid rules, with both saying they will resign if they are fined.

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What has Boris Johnson said about being fined?

Mr Johnson confirmed he has paid the fine issued last month and offered a “fulsome apology” for the incident.

He said at the time: “Today I’ve received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan police relating to a Downing Street Event on 19 June 2020.

“Let me say immediately, I have paid the fine and want to offer a fulsome apology.

“There was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm lasting less than 10 minutes during which people I worked with passed on their good wishes.

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“In that time it did not occur to me this might have been a breach of the rules. The police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation.”

Mr Johnson has rejected calls to resign after being fined, despite facing mounting pressure from opposition parties to quit.

The cabinet has given its backing to the PM and while some Tory MPs have said he should go, Mr Johnson’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seems to have secured his position for now.

Which parties are being investigated?

The Met Police is investigating 12 gatherings which took place behind closed doors in Downing Street and Whitehall while Covid restrictions were in place.

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Gatherings currently under investigation as part of Operation Hillman include:

  • A Downing Street garden party which took place on 20 May 2020
  • A birthday gathering which took place for Boris Johnson in the Cabinet Room on 19 June 2020
  • A leaving party for a special advisor on 13 November 2020

The Prime Minister is said to have attended all three of these parties, but a further nine are also under investigation.

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