More than 50 fines for Downing Street lockdown parties, police announce

Identities of those facing fixed penalty notices have not been revealed

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Tuesday 12 April 2022 12:57 BST
Boris Johnson dodges Partygate questions 15 times in one interview

At least 30 more fixed penalty notices are being issued in relation to breaches of Covid-19 laws at Downing Street and Whitehall parties, bringing the total to more than 50, the Metropolitan Police have said.

And police said they were continuing to assess “significant amounts of investigative material” which could lead to further fines.

The announcement sparked fresh calls for the prime minister to quit, with Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey saying: “If Boris Johnson won’t resign, Conservative MPs must show him the door.”

No details have been released of the identities of those facing fines, or the events to which they relate.

An initial tranche of 20 fines was announced on 29 March, with recipients facing penalties of £50 or more following the Operation Hillman inquiry into 12 events alleged to have broken laws designed to prevent the spread of Covid during 2020 and 2021.

The Met today announced that the total number of cases referred to the Criminal Records Office for the issue of FPNs has topped 50, meaning that at least 30 more instances of law-breaking have been established over the past fortnight.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: “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 (Criminal Records Office).”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the fines were evidence of “widespread criminality” inside Downing Street.

“Crime is soaring, victims are being let down and police officers are disappearing from our streets – now we see widespread criminality at the heart of Downing Street,” she said. “This is just the latest example of a distracted out-of-touch government, guilty of breaking the law, never mind enforcing it.”

Sir Ed Davey said: “These fines expose the shocking scale of the criminality in Boris Johnson’s Number 10.

“The police have now completely shredded Johnson’s claims that no laws were broken. He cannot be trusted and cannot continue as prime minister.

“No other leader in any other organisation would be allowed to continue after law-breaking on this scale. If Boris Johnson won’t resign, Conservative MPs must show him the door.”

Police have taken evidence from more than 100 ministers, advisers and officials, including Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, through written questionnaires. Three weeks ago, they began interviews with some of those involved in events in Downing Street and Whitehall.

It is understood that the initial fixed penalty notices relate to the more straightforward cases, where individuals have admitted breaches and put up no defence.

Downing Street has committed to revealing whether Mr Johnson or the head of the civil service Simon Case are fined, but have said they will not identify No 10 officials who are issued with FPNs.

The long-awaited report by Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray into the Partygate scandal will not be published until police inquiries are concluded.

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