Police issue 50 more fines over Westminster ‘partygate’ breaches

PM Boris Johnson not among those to have received further further fines, Downing St says

The Metropolitan police has issued another 50 fines to UK government officials as part of its inquiry into coronavirus rule-breaking in Downing Street and Whitehall during the pandemic.

London’s police force is investigating a dozen gatherings that took place in Westminster between 2020 and 2021 when Covid-19 restrictions were in place, including 10 events at Downing Street.

The force has so far issued more than 100 referrals for fixed-penalty notices since the investigation into the "partygate" scandal began in January, including to the prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“These referrals have continued to be made throughout the period since our last update on Tuesday 12 April and the investigation remains live,” the Met said in a statement on Thursday.


Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and Mr Sunak were last month fined £50 (€59)each for attending an illegal birthday party held at Downing Street in June 2020. On Thursday, Downing Street said the prime minister had received no further fines, adding that an announcement would be made if a notice was issued.

Cabinet secretary Simon Case, who also received a questionnaire from the Met in relation to several gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall that he is alleged to have attended, did not receive a fine in the latest tranche.

Responding to the latest fines, Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "Boris Johnson's Downing Street has now reached a century of fixed-penalty notices for their partying."

She added: “They have racked up the dubious distinction of receiving more fines on the prime minister’s watch than any other location.”


Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is under investigation by Durham Police force over allegations he broke coronavirus laws through his attendance at a meal that took place in April last year. He has pledged to resign if issued with a fixed-penalty notice.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey pointed out that Mr Johnson had previously told parliament: "Covid rules were followed in Number 10 at all times."

“Now 100 fines have been issued by the police over partygate. It shows the shocking scale of the lawbreaking in Mr Johnson’s Downing Street and the extent of his lies,” he said.

Allies of the prime minister are concerned that if he is fined again, he will face a no-confidence vote on his position by Conservative MPs. One Tory MP said: “Boris is confident that he won’t be fined again, but no one really knows. If he is, things will get very difficult.”

The Met previously said that further fines would be handed out “if the evidential threshold is made”, while highlighting the “significant amount of investigative material” that needed to be reviewed, including more than 300 images.

The police said: “We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed and have completed a number of assessments.”

After the Met finishes its investigation, Mr Johnson will have to contend with the publication of an internal Whitehall inquiry into partygate by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, which is continuing.

Those with knowledge of Ms Gray’s findings said her report would probably be “very damning” and could cause more political problems for Mr Johnson. “It’s going to be pretty brutal,” one civil servant said. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022