20 Fixed Penalty Notices Set To Be Issued Over Partygate Scandal, Met Police Reveals

Scotland Yard said a "significant" amount of investigative material remains to be assessed, suggesting more might be issued.
Downing Street
Downing Street
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

Twenty fixed penalty notices are set to be issued for breaches of Covid rules at lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, Scotland Yard has said.

The partygate scandal recently engulfed the government and saw Tory MPs publicly call for the prime minister to go.

Now it has been revealed that the Met is referring 20 FPNs to the Acro Criminal Records Office - the body responsible for issuing fines.

It means the Met Police believes laws relating to covid restrictions have been broken in some instances.

Any fines are expected to be around £100 and No10 has pledged to reveal if Boris Johnson himself is fined.

The Metropolitan Police Service said on Tuesday: “The investigation into allegations of breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street has now progressed to the point where the first referrals for fixed penalty notices [FPN] will be made to Acro Criminal Records Office.

“We will today initially begin to refer 20 fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

“The Acro Criminal Records Office will then be responsible for issuing the FPNs to the individual following the referrals from the MPS.”

Detectives launched their investigation at the end of last year after reports emerged of gatherings taking place during the pandemic.

The force announced last week that more than 100 questionnaires had been sent out to people at the reported gatherings. They included the PM and chancellor Rishi Sunak.

However, the Met said it would not confirm the number of referrals made from each event it is investigating as providing a breakdown at this point could lead to the individuals involved being identified.

Johnson apologised in January following the publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the scandal.

She blamed “failures of leadership and judgment” in No10 and the cabinet office for the affair.

Gray revealed that the Met were investigating 12 parties, including the notorious “bring your own booze” event organised the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, in May 2020, and a surprise get-together for Johnson’s birthday in June 2020.

In a Commons statement following the publication of the report, Johnson told MPs: “We asked people across this country to make the most extraordinary sacrifices – not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died, and I understand the anger that people feel.

“But it isn’t enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn.”

The row led to many Tory MPs publicly calling on Johnson to resign, with around 30 thought to have submitted letters of no confidence in his leadership.

Labour leader Keir Starmer also demanded the prime minister quit, but later put that on hold, saying it was time for politicians to unite over the war in Ukraine.

However, only last week senior Tory MP Mark Harper warned that partygate “hasn’t gone away”.

Education minister Will Quince refused to say in a round of broadcast appearances this morning whether the PM should quit if he is fined.

However, he did admit that restriction-busting parties “shouldn’t have happened”.

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said: “After over two months of police time, twelve parties investigated and over a hundred people questioned under caution, Boris Johnson’s Downing Street has been found guilty of breaking the law.

“The culture is set from the very top. The buck stops with the prime minister, who spent months lying to the British public, which is why he’s got to go.

“It is disgraceful that while the rest of the country followed their rules, Boris Johnson’s government acted like they didn’t apply to them.

“This has been a slap in the face of the millions of people who made huge sacrifices.”

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “If Boris Johnson thinks he can get away with partygate by paying expensive lawyers and throwing junior staff to the wolves, he is wrong.

“We all know who is responsible. The prime minister must resign, or Conservative MPs must sack him.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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