Met to 'reveal number of Partygate fines' but refuses to publish names

15 February 2022, 19:18

Civil servants will be told how many people get fined for Partygate but names won’t be revealed
Civil servants will be told how many people get fined for Partygate but names won’t be revealed. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The number of fines issued for alleged lockdown breaching parties in Downing Street and across Whitehall will be made public by the Metropolitan Police.

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Scotland Yard is also expected to publish its reasons for issuing any fixed penalty notices (FPNs), according to an advice sheet said to have been distributed to officials by the Cabinet Office.

However the names of those who receive FPNs will not be included in any documents and will not be shared with the Civil Service.

It comes after Downing Street said on Monday that the Prime Minister's response to his police questionnaire into gatherings at No 10 will not be made public.

But Boris Johnson insisted he will have "a lot more" to say on the "partygate" row once the police investigation is concluded.

The Met have sent the questionnaire to more than 50 people as they investigate 12 gatherings in Downing Street and wider Government in an inquiry called Operation Hillman, which is examining whether Covid restrictions were broken.

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The Prime Minister is alleged to have attended up to six of the events.

The Daily Telegraph reported that a Q&A sheet had been sent to Government officials caught up in the inquiry, detailing certain aspects of what information will and will not be published by the police over the course of their investigation.

The Met confirmed that a document had been drawn up by the Cabinet Office to brief staff, and that it was "consulted on those aspects relevant to its investigation and legal processes".

The newspaper cited the Q&A sheet as suggesting the Met would confirm the number of FPNs issued in relation to each gathering under investigation - if any - and give its reasons for imposing the fines, without identifying individuals.

It said one line in the document reads: "The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) approach during the pandemic has been to confirm the number of FPNs issued at particular events and to explain what those FPNs were issued for."

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On whether the Civil Service will "make public" details of the fines, the Q&A sheet reportedly says: "No. The Met will not publish the names of those who have received FPNs and the Civil Service will not know the details of recipients."

The advice is said to have been sent to many officials interviewed by senior civil servant Sue Gray over the course of her inquiry into alleged lockdown-busting parties, or who attended gatherings now under investigation by the police.

The Telegraph said the Q&A sheet was drawn up by a Cabinet Office unit separate from Ms Gray's investigations team.

Asked about the reports, the Met said: "This document was prepared by the Cabinet Office to brief staff. The MPS was consulted on those aspects relevant to its investigation and legal processes."