Boris Johnson and wife Carrie escape further fines as Partygate investigation concludes

No 10 braced for full Sue Gray report next week

Andrew Woodcock,Adam Forrest
Thursday 19 May 2022 13:17 BST
Partygate: Boris Johnson's repeated denials and excuses

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie have escaped further fines over lockdown-breaching parties at No 10 as the Metropolitan Police concludes its investigations.

Both the prime minister and Ms Johnson both previously received a £50 fixed penalty notice (FPN) in relation to a birthday party held for the PM in June 2020.

But the PM’s official spokesperson today confirmed that Mr Johnson was told by Scotland Yard that he and his wife will not receive any further fines, as the force announced 126 FPNs in total.

Neither chancellor Rishi Sunak nor cabinet secretary Simon Case have been informed of any further penalty notices, No 10 said, though they have not been defintively told that they will not be fined.

“With regards to the prime minister, the Met has confirmed that they are taking no further action with regards to him,” said the spokesperson, who said the PM was “pleased” the inquiry was over.

“[The cabinet secretary] has not received any indication with regards to a fixed penalty notice, but he has not had the same final confirmation from the Met in the same way the prime minister has.”

The police decision not to issue any further fines to Mr Johnson eases the pressure from the PM, who was thought to have been under investigation for attendance at as many as five further events.

But the conclusion of the Operation Hillman inquiry sets the scene for another moment of peril for the PM, with the publication of the full Partygate scandal report by top civil servant Sue Gray expected as early as next week.

Many Tory MPs have said they will await the publication of the full report before deciding whether to send a letter of no confidence in the PM to the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

Sir Graham must call a vote on Mr Johnson’s future if he receives 54 letters, with the PM needing the support of half of Tory MPs to hold onto his position as leader.

It is not clear whether Ms Gray will include photos of law-breaking parties in her report. Downing Street said it intends to publish her report as it is received – though officials will carry out “data protection checks”.

Sue Gray took over the inquiry after Simon Case was forced to stand down (PA/
Sue Gray took over the inquiry after Simon Case was forced to stand down (PA/ (PA Media)

Asked if No 10 intends to publish any photos or other documentary evidence included in Ms Gray’s report, the PM’s spokesperson said: “It’s a hypothetical situation, but our intention will be to publish the report as received as much as possible.”

He added: “We will need to carry out any sort of requisite data protection checks. But again, just to be clear ... as it didn’t before, I don’t envisage that to be an issue.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer repeated his call for Boris Johnson to quit, saying the PM was responsible for a culture which saw “industrial scale lawbreaking” in No 10.

“What the investigation has shown is industrial scale lawbreaking in Downing Street, 120 or so fines – that reflects a culture and the prime minister sets the culture,” said Sir Keir.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said it “beggars belief that Conservative MPs are allowing our great country to be run by a prime minister who broke the law then repeatedly lied about it”, adding that the full Gray report should be published “without delay”.

Scotland Yard said 83 individuals were given 126 fines over gatherings held on eight dates. A total of 28 people received multiple fines, with some receiving five each.

The force said its £460,000 probe was now complete, and that it has no objection to Ms Gray publishing her full report.

The probe saw 12 detectives work through 345 documents – including emails, door logs, diary entries and witness statements – 510 photographs and CCTV images and 204 questionnaires.

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