First Partygate fines for up to 20 people today but Boris not expected to be among them

28 March 2022, 21:50 | Updated: 29 March 2022, 08:04

The first partygate fines are due to be issued - but there is no suggestion Boris Johnson is among them
The first partygate fines are due to be issued - but there is no suggestion Boris Johnson is among them. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Up to 20 people could be issued fines over partygate in the coming hours.

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They are believed to be just the first set of punishments to be dished out by police over the saga, which at one point had Boris Johnson battling to save his job.

The issue took a back seat after Russia's invasion of Ukraine but the 20 fines may reignite debate around the behaviour of politicians and officials during Covid restrictions.

Partygate saw continuous revelations of Covid rule-breaking events held across Downing Street and Whitehall.

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BBC News has reported that it understands the fines will be issued on Tuesday, while the Guardian described them as "imminent".

There has been no suggestion that Boris Johnson, whose attendance at some events has come under severe scrutiny, is among the 20 people.

PM's conduct during partygate shouldn't cancel out partygate

Detectives investigating 12 events that were accused of falling foul of Covid rules sent out more than 100 questionnaires to people asking about their involvement with alleged parties.

Last week, it emerged police are looking into whether anything took place in the home of Boris Johnson.

He is accused of attending six of the 12 events in question. All are said to have taken place between May and December 2020, as England was under the first lockdown and later a variety of restrictions.

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Among them is the infamous May 2020 “Bring Your Own Booze” event, where a leaked email from Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, invited Downing Street staff to the building’s garden.

Mr Johnson said he believed it was a work event and admitted he went for just under half an hour to thank staff for their efforts.

Boris Johnson 'confident' he did not break the law over Partygate

Police have also looked into June 19 2020, the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday, where it has been admitted staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room, after Carrie Johnson organised a surprise get-together.

It has been denied, however, family and friends went upstairs in the Downing Street complex to celebrate.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman has also dismissed claims of parties in No11, the flat used by the PM and his wife, after ex-adviser Dominic Cummings left government.

It was reported Abba songs including The Winner Takes it All were heard from the flat.

No update has been given out by Downing Street or the Cabinet Office.

Sue Gray, a civil servant, had published a report into partygate allegations in January.

The report, which was limited after the Met launched its own investigation - the force having initially refusing to look into claims - said there were "failures of leadership and judgment" in Government.

Boris Johnson told MPs "I get it and I will fix it".