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Partygate: Met says over 100 fines now issued for lockdown breaches | Conservatives

More than 100 fixed-penalty notices have now been handed out for breaches of lockdown guidelines in Downing Street and Whitehall, the Metropolitan police have introduced.

The power beforehand stated it had issued greater than 50 such penalties, however it had not up to date the general public on the progress of its investigation in current weeks whereas the native election marketing campaign was going down.

In a quick assertion on Thursday, it stated the whole had reached twice that. The investigation, which covers 12 separate occasions, is ongoing.

Asked in regards to the newest figures as he arrived for a cupboard meeting in Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday, Johnson stated he was “sure we’ll have plenty to say about that when the thing’s finished”.

It is known one of many gatherings for which penalties have begun to be issued is the cheese and wine occasion that No 10 aides have been filmed joking about.

In the leaked footage of a press briefing rehearsal, from December 2020, Johnson’s then director of communications, Allegra Stratton, was seen struggling to answer the question of whether or not a Christmas occasion had taken place. One colleague suggests: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.” Stratton resigned after the video was made public.

‘No social distancing’: Downing Street employees joke about Christmas occasion in leaked footage – video

Downing Street confirmed the prime minister had nonetheless acquired one fixed-penalty discover, for a birthday celebration in June 2020. His spouse, Carrie Johnson, and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, acquired notices for the identical occasion.

Johnson’s spokesman stated: “The prime minister has, on a number of occasions, apologised and made clear that there were things we simply did not get right, and that he is sorry for how this matter has been handled. Obviously, that remains the case.

“He will have more to say at the conclusion of the investigation, and when the Sue Gray report is published.”

Johnson has informed associates he believes he won’t obtain additional penalties, and stated publicly final week he had not but been despatched a questionnaire from the Met in regards to the leaving do of his aide Lee Cain, at which he’s believed to have poured drinks.

Several sources have steered a separate occasion was held on the identical evening, hosted by Carrie Johnson upstairs within the No 10 flat, at which Abba was performed loudly. Johnson is predicted to argue that whereas he was current at that gathering, it was solely to interview a doable candidate for a job.

Some fixed-penalty notices have already been issued for the “bring your own booze” backyard drinks organised by Johnson’s principal non-public secretary, Martin Reynolds, on 20 May 2020. Johnson admitted attending that gathering for a couple of minutes however stated he believed it was a piece occasion. The cupboard secretary, Simon Case, has not but acquired a penalty, Downing Street has indicated.

The Liberal Democrat chief, Ed Davey, responding to the Met’s assertion, stated: “Boris Johnson stood up in parliament and said Covid rules were followed in No 10 at all times. Now a shocking 100 fines have been issued by the police over Partygate. It shows the scale of the law-breaking in Johnson’s Downing Street and the extent of his lies.”

Even earlier than this newest replace, polling carried out by YouGov steered 80% of the general public imagine Johnson has lied about Partygate, whereas simply 8% assume he has informed the reality.

Many Conservative MPs are awaiting the publication of the senior civil servant Sue Gray’s full report on lockdown breaches in Downing Street, earlier than deciding whether or not to maneuver towards the prime minister.

So far, the Cabinet Office has solely revealed a pared down model of her findings, after she paused her work whereas the Met investigation came about.

Johnson additionally faces an investigation by the House of Commons privileges committee into whether or not he misled parliament by reassuring MPs when the Partygate tales first emerged that “all guidance was followed completely” in Downing Street.

Durham police stated final week they’d examine claims Keir Starmer broke lockdown guidelines by consuming a takeaway curry at a marketing campaign occasion final year.

The Labour chief, a former director of public prosecutions, stated on Monday he was assured no guidelines have been damaged, and that he would resign if issued with a fixed-penalty discover.

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