Met ends Partygate investigation with 83 people fined and 126 FPNs in total

Sue Gray report expected next week as No.10 confirms Boris Johnson will not receive another fine
Photo: Tony Farrugia/Alamy Stock Photo

The Metropolitan Police has concluded its investigation into breaches of Covid regulations at Downing Street and Whitehall and revealed that a total of 83 people have been fined or are in line to receive fines.

Police have issued, or will soon issue, 126 fines in total, with 48 women receiving 73 Fixed Penalty Notices and 35 men getting 53 fines related to eight events, the force said as it closed the investigation – opening a window for civil service investigator Sue Gray’s full report into the Partygate events to be published.

Twenty-eight of the 83 people found to have broken the rules will receive between two and five fines, the Met said.

As with its previous announcements, the Met has not confirmed the identities of the recipients. However, No.10 has confirmed that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Rishi Sunak were among those to receive fines in a previous batch.

The Met has told the PM that neither he nor Carrie Johnson will receive further FPNs, a No.10 spokesperson confirmed at a lobby briefing today.

It has not been confirmed yet whether cabinet secretary Simon Case has been fined. Case was forced to step down from the government's internal Partygate probe after it was reported that he had made an appearance at a drinks gathering while London was under Tier 2 restrictions on 17 December 2020. 

Some of the fines issued by the Met relate to Covid breaches on that date – when a leaving party for Kate Josephs, then head of the Covid taskforce, took place as well as a virtual quiz attended by some of Case's private office staff. People have also been fined over a Christmas party held at Downing Street on 18 December 2020, the following day.

Other get-togethers include the “bring your own booze” Downing Street garden party on 20 May 2020; a gathering held to celebrate Boris Johnson's birthday; and another event held on 13 November to mark a staff departure.

Fines were issued for two other events held on 14 January 2021 and 16 April 2021.

Now that the investsigation, named Operation Hillman, has concluded, it is expected that Cabinet Office second permanent secretary Sue Gray will publish the full report of her own findings on the events next week, before the parliamentary recess begins on Thursday.

Publication of Gray's full report was put on hold when the Met announced its investigation, but the PM's spokesperson has said it will be published once the Met concludes its work.

“When Covid regulations were introduced, the Met was clear that whilst we would not routinely investigate breaches of regulations retrospectively, there may be occasions when it would be appropriate to do so,” the Met’s acting deputy commissioner Helen Ball said.

“The information that we received with regard to the alleged breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall was sufficient to reach our criteria to begin such an investigation.

“Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN referral." 

The Met has said its investigation comprised 12 full-time officers and cost approximately £460,000.

Some FPNs have not yet been issued, and should be received in the next 48 hours.

This story was updated at 11.35am on 20 May to reflect updated figures from the Met Police.

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