Downing Street parties: What is happening in partygate investigation - have fines been handed out?

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are among those to be fined

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that the Prime Minister, he Chancellor and Carrie Johnson have all been fined for attending Covid rule-breaking parties.

The police confirmed that around 50 fixed penalty notices have so far been handed out.

Statements from the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s wife and the Chncellor confirmed that they have paid their fine.

Officers are continuing to investigate the 12 gatherings in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office which allegedly broke Covid restrictions.

What has the Met Police said about fines?

In a statement on 12 April, the Metropolitan Police said: “The investigation into allegations of breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street continues to progress.

“As of Tuesday, 12 April 2022, we have made over 50 referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPN) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of Covid-19 regulations who, following the referral, issue the FPNs to the individual.

“We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed, this includes continuing to assess significant amounts of investigative material from which further referrals may be made to ACRO.”

They also confirmed that the investigation is not over and more fines could be issued to those involved.

Who has been fined by the Met Police?

On 12 April, it was confirmed that Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Mrs Johnson have all been fined, with a further 50 penalties handed out.

The Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s wife and the Chancellor were all fined for attending a gathering held on 19 June 2020.

This gathering was held in honour of Mr Johnson’s birthday party in the Cabinet room.

It was also announced that the public would be notified if cabinet secretary Simon Case is among those to be fined due to his “unique position”.

Mr Case was leading the independent inquiry into the lockdown-breaking gatherings, however was removed from the investigation after he was found to have hosted a Christmas party in his own office.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray shortly took over the inquiry.

Former director general for propriety and ethics Helen MacNamara confirmed that she has received a fine from the Met Police in connection with a leaving party on 18 June 2020.

Ms MacNamara, who now works for the Premier League, said: “I am sorry for the error of judgement I have shown. I have accepted and paid the fixed penalty notice.”

What has been said about the partygate fines?

There has been anger from across the political spectrum after news broke that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor had been issued a fine by police.

Many, including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have called on both to resign from their roles.

He said: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign.

“The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better.”

His words were echoed by fellow Labour politicians such as deputy l;eader Angela Raynor and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.

However, the Conservative cabinet members have come out in defence of Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “The Prime Minister has apologised and taken responsibility for what happened in Downing Street.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries and health secretary Sajid Javid have also come out in support of their colleagues.

Mr Javid said: “He [Mr Johnson] and the Chancellor are delivering for Britain on many fronts including on the international security crisis we face. They have my 100% backing.”

What has the Met Police said about interviews?

In a statement, the force said: “In addition to the detailed review of all available material, including returned questionnaires, detectives from the Operation Hillman investigation team have started interviewing key witnesses.

“This investigation involves a significant amount of investigative material; the serving of over 100 questionnaires and the need to individually assess every response.

“The offences under consideration comprise a number of elements and the legislation itself changed between the event dates. We are progressing the investigation as quickly as possible”

They added: “As a result of responses so far, further individuals have been identified and questionnaires sent to them. As the investigation continues, we may need to contact more people as further information comes to light.”

Which parties are under investigation?

While attention has been diverted off of the partygate storm and the Sue Gray report, the criminal investigation has continued since January 2022.

It was announced two months ago that the Met Police were to begin investigating gatherings which took placed behind closed doors in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.

Gatherings currently under investigation 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, however a further nine are also being investigated.

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