Metropolitan Police Expected To Start Handing Out Partygate Fines ‘Imminently’

Around 20 Whitehall staff could receive fines as early as today for their part in the partygate scandal.

The Metropolitan Police are reportedly preparing to issue the first wave of fixed penalty notices to officials who attended lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

Detectives launched their investigation at the end of last year after reports emerged of gatherings taking place during the pandemic.

The force announced last week that more than 100 questionnaires had been sent out to people at the reported gatherings. They included the PM and chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The force is investigating 12 events, including as many as six that Johnson is said to have attended.

It is understood, however, that the prime minister will not be among the first tranche of people handed fines for breaking lockdown rules by the Met.

Johnson apologised in January following the publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the partygate scandal,

She blamed “failures of leadership and judgment” in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office for the affair.

Gray revealed that the Met were investigating 12 parties, including the notorious “bring your own booze” event organised the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, in May 2020, and a surprise get-together for Johnson’s birthday in June 2020.

In a Commons statement following the publication of the report, Johnson told MPs: “We asked people across this country to make the most extraordinary sacrifices – not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died, and I understand the anger that people feel.

“But it isn’t enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn.”

The row led to many Tory MPs publicly calling on Johnson to resign, with around 30 thought to have submitted letters of no confidence in his leadership.

Labour leader Keir Starmer also demanded the prime minister quit, but later put that on hold, saying it was time for politicians to unite over the war in Ukraine.

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