Boris Johnson faces no further action in 126-fine partygate investigation

Downing Street said the Met Police told the Prime Minister he will not get another fine as they closed the investigation.

Sam Blewett
Thursday 19 May 2022 16:31
The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Police have told Boris Johnson he faces no further action over lockdown breaches, Downing Street said, after the Metropolitan Police concluded its partygate investigation with a total of 126 fines.

Scotland Yard said on Thursday it had issued fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) to 83 people at events in Downing Street and across Whitehall spanning eight separate days.

No 10 said the Prime Minister was “pleased” the investigation had concluded and that officers had told Mr Johnson he would not receive a second fine, having received one for the event on his 56th birthday.

The conclusion of Operation Hillman into breaches spanning 11 months paves the way for the potentially damaging publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry.

It is understood the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson has also been told she faces no further action while Chancellor Rishi Sunak was also yet to receive another fine, after both were fined over the Prime Minister’s birthday gathering in June 2020.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Met has confirmed that they are taking no further action with regards to the Prime Minister.”

Conservative former chief whip Mark Harper joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in calling for Ms Gray’s report to be published swiftly.

What I want to see now is the full Sue Gray report published, there’s no further hiding places for the Prime Minister on that

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader

No 10 said it will publish the report “as soon as possible”, with officials expecting Ms Gray is most likely to hand it over next week.

Sir Keir Starmer repeated his call for Mr Johnson to resign, for setting a culture of “industrial-scale law-breaking” in No 10.

The Labour leader told reporters in Leeds: “What I want to see now is the full Sue Gray report published, there’s no further hiding places for the Prime Minister on that.”

Downing Street said Mr Johnson will “talk in more detail” about the scandal after the report is published.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the intention is to publish it “as received, as much as possible”, raising the possibility images of parties could emerge if included by the civil servant.

“The Prime Minister is pleased the investigation has concluded and would like to thank the police for their work in bringing this investigation to completion,” the spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister will update Parliament in the first instance once Sue Gray’s report is published, that’s when he’ll talk in more detail.”

Police also said Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who had to recuse himself from running the inquiry after reports of a Cabinet Office Christmas party surfaced, would not be fined, Downing Street confirmed.

Scotland Yard said 48 women received a total of 73 FPNs, while 35 men received a total of 53.

The Met’s acting deputy commissioner Helen Ball said 28 people had received between two and five fines.

“We have no objections at all to Sue Gray publishing her report and she will make her decisions now as to the next steps she wants to take, I’m sure,” she added.

One of the dates in which fines were issued for was November 13 2020, a date in which police investigated two events, including one in the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat.

Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN referral

Helen Ball, Met’s acting deputy commissioner

But the Met has not clarified whether a fine was issued over the flat gathering, or whether fines on that day related to the leaving do for communications director Lee Cain, at which Mr Johnson reportedly made a speech.

It was clear however that fines were issued for the “bring your own booze” party held in the Downing Street garden on May 20 2020.

At the Met’s last update on May 12 the force had made referrals for more than 100 FPNs to the Acro Criminal Records Office.

Scotland Yard declined to identify anyone involved in the investigation but disclosed that it cost around £460,000.

A team of 12 detectives examined 345 documents, including emails, door logs, diary entries, witness statements and 204 questionnaires.

They also examined 510 photographs and CCTV images.

There were no interviews under caution, with officers instead relying on answers to questionnaires.

Six separate types of offending were identified, including breaching rules for holding an indoor gathering of multiple people, including when London was under Tier 4 restrictions.

Ms Ball added: “There is no doubt that the pandemic impacted all of us in so many ways and strong feelings and opinions have been expressed on this particular issue.

“Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN referral.

“This investigation is now complete.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in