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Partygate: Timeline of government gatherings as more fines issued

Boris Johnson is underneath intense stress over Partygate once more, after he and his chancellor Rishi Sunak have been handed fastened penalty discover fines by the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard introduced more than 50 fines for government employees members over law-breaking occasions held at Downing Street and Whitehall in the course of the Covid pandemic.

Having initially stated in December he was “sickened” on the concept of No 10 employees flouting guidelines, Mr Johnson discovered himself compelled to confess that he too had attended an occasion on 20 May 2020.

Since then, more damning reviews have appeared about additional pandemic-era events allegedly held behind the scenes in Westminster.

The Independent appears in any respect the claims of events and investigations into gatherings throughout No 10, government departments and at Conservative Party HQ.

15 May 2020 – No 10 backyard gathering

A joint investigation by The Independent and The Guardian revealed {that a} wine and pizza gathering was held within the No 10 rose backyard on 15 May 2020 – regardless of folks from completely different households being restricted to one-on-one conferences open air.

An picture later printed confirmed wine and cheese being consumed by the prime minister, Ms Johnson, and advisers together with Dominic Cummings. Former well being secretary Matt Hancock was additionally photographed within the Downing Street backyard, after having delivered the day’s covid press convention.

Mr Johnson has beforehand insisted “those people were at work, talking about work”. At the time, Covid legal guidelines banned gatherings of more than two folks except they met particular exemptions, such as being “for work purposes”.

20 May 2020 – ‘Bring your own booze’

In a weblog submit, Mr Cummings, the PM’s former chief adviser, dismissed the concept that the 15 May {photograph} depicted a celebration, insisting it was frequent observe for conferences to be held within the open air of the backyard.

However, he claimed {that a} “socially distanced drinks” occasion did happen on 20 May 2020. The row exploded as a leaked e-mail despatched from the PM’s personal secretary confirmed over 100 No 10 employees have been invited to the occasion, instructed to “bring your own booze”.

Mr Johnson subsequently apologised, confirming that he attended the occasion for round 25 minutes however assumed it was “a work event” – an execuse that drew laughs of incredulity within the Commons and mockery from Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer.

This turned one of 12 occasions investigated by the Metropolitan Police as half of the Operation Hillman investigation, after senior civil servant Sue Gray’s interim report appeared into claims surrouning 16 occasions.

Boris Johnson says he was ‘at work’ throughout No 10 backyard gathering

18 June 2020 – Cabinet Office leaving do

Ms Gray’s interim report stated a gathering within the 70 Whitehall constructing was held to mark the departure of a No 10 personal secretary. It is one of the occasions the police been investigating.

The occasion had not beforehand been disclosed, however The Telegraph stated the official in question is former dwelling affairs coverage adviser Hannah Young, who left Downing Street to take up the function of deputy consul common in New York.

19 June 2020 – Boris Johnson’s birthday

Downing Street employees allegedly held a day party for Mr Johnson at No 10. His spouse, Carrie Johnson, led the shock gathering the place there was cake, a singing of joyful birthday, and picnic meals from M&S, ITV News reported.

A No 10 spokeswoman confirmed {that a} group of employees had “gathered briefly” within the Cabinet Room “to wish the prime minister a happy birthday”, including: “He was there for less than 10 minutes.”

But No 10 denied a declare that Mr Johnson’s family and friends have been hosted upstairs in his flat for an occasion later that night.

Mr Sunak is claimed to have obtained his fastened penalty discover (PFN) fantastic for attending the party at No 10 Cabinet Room, which is topic to the police probe.

Boris Johnson was ‘ambushed with a cake’, claims loyal Tory MP

13 November 2020 – Downing Street ‘flat party’

Another allegation made by Mr Cummings was of a “flat party” in Mr Johnson’s official residence on 13 November 2020 – the identical day he left No 10. Mr Cummings claimed employees “could hear the music playing loudly”.

Asked at PMQs in December whether or not there had been a celebration on 13 November 2020, Mr Johnson stated “no” however added: “I’m sure that whatever happened the guidance was followed at all times.”

This is one other of the occasions which the police is wanting into. According to reviews on the time, Mr Johnson gave a leaving speech for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications.

New lockdown legal guidelines had as soon as once more banned gatherings and leaving dwelling “without reasonable excuse” on the time. Indoor gatherings have been allowed in some circumstances if “required precautions” have been undertaken.

27 November 2020 – Cleo Watson’s leaving occasion

Another leaving occasion was reported to have been held two weeks later — when the lockdown remained in place — for adviser Cleo Watson, with the PM personally delivering a speech whereas alcohol was consumed. It was one of the occasions checked out by Ms Gray, however police selected to not examine.

10 December 2020 – Education division drinks occasion

Also underneath scrutiny is a social occasion reportedly held on the London workplaces of the Department for Education on 10 December 2020, instigated by the then-education secretary Gavin Williamson to thank his employees.

The division admitted a “gathering of colleagues” passed off on 10 December, with “drink and snacks brought by those attending”, including: “Looking back we accept it would have been better not have gathered in this way at that particular time”.

The regulation had modified once more, together with completely different ranges of restrictions for various areas in line with Covid charges. London was in Tier 2, which banned indoor social gatherings except particular exemptions utilized.

14 December 2020 – Shaun Bailey’s Tory HQ do

Four days later, with Londoners nonetheless topic to Tier 2 restrictions, a celebration passed off on the Conservative Party headquarters in Westminster.

A spokesperson for the celebration stated the occasion was “authorised” and disciplinary motion was was taken in opposition to 4 CCHQ employees seconded to the then London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey’s marketing campaign.

The Mirror newspaper later printed a picture of the gathering — which function staffers and a catered buffet – resulting in the resignation of Mr Bailey from an official function on the London Assembly as chair of the police and crime committee.

15 December 2020 – Christmas quiz

The following day, No 10 employees have been concerned in a festive quiz, with reviews suggesting invitations have been despatched out prematurely. An picture later printed by the Sunday Mirror confirmed the PM flanked by colleagues, with one draped in tinsel and one other sporting a Santa hat.

Downing Street stated the prime minister had “briefly” attended the quiz – after the photographic proof emerged – however insisted it was a digital occasion and claimed he broke no guidelines. Tier 2 legal guidelines remained in power.

16 December 2020 – Transport division drinks occasion

The Mirror reported senior civil servants have been “boozing and dancing” at yet one more occasion, this one allegedly deliberate by employees from transport secretary Grant Shapps’ office.

A departmental spokesman stated: “Fewer than a dozen staff who were working in the office had a low-key, socially distanced gathering … where food and drink was consumed. We recognise this was inappropriate and apologise for the error of judgement.”

At midnight, London had been moved into harder Tier 3 restrictions and indoor gatherings remained banned.

17 December 2020 – More No 10 leaving drinks

A leaving do was held for a departing Downing Street official. The Telegraph reported that the employees member in question was Captain Steve Higham, then one of Mr Johnson’s personal secretaries, who suggested on defence and nationwide safety points.

The Mirror, which first reported the occasion, additionally being probed by the police, and stated Mr Johnson was solely there “for a few minutes”.

17 December 2020 – Cabinet Office drinks occasions

The former director-general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce, Kate Josephs, stated she was “truly sorry” over leaving drinks held within the Cabinet Office.

Separately cupboard secretary Simon Case eliminated himself from the inquiry into Whitehall events – to get replaced by Ms Gray – after reviews emerged of a gathering within the Cabinet Office. Both occasions have been probed by police.

The Cabinet Office stated Mr Case performed no half within the occasion “but walked through the team’s office on the way to his own”. Both Cabinet office occasions are being probed by the police.

18 December 2020 ‘Christmas party’ that began scandal

Allegations of a Christmas celebration held in No 10 on 18 December 2020 have been the main target of a lot anger on the finish of the final year when the reviews first emerged in The Mirror.

The occasion occurred whereas London remained in strict Tier 3 measures, and only a day earlier than Mr Johnson imposed an efficient lockdown within the capital and different swathes of the nation.

Mr Johnson was compelled to handle the problem within the Commons after the explosive leak of a video displaying No 10 employees holding a mock press convention and making jokes a couple of Christmas celebration.

Sobbing Allegra Stratton resigns over No 10 celebration video

It led to the resignation of government aide Allegra Stratton and the PM saying Ms Gray’s investigation, claiming he was “shocked” by the video. “I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up,” Mr Johnson instructed MPs. It’s one of the occasions being probed by police.

14 January 2021 – More No 10 leaving drinks

The police stated one other one of the 12 occasions being probed was a gathering was held in No 10 to mark the departure of two personal secretaries on 14 January final year.

Reports have recommended the PM attended the leaving occasion, which was for a senior civil servant within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in line with The Telegraph. The different official’s id is thus far unknown.

16 April 2021 – Leaving drinks on eve of Philip’s funeral

Reports of gatherings at No 10 appeared in The Daily Telegraph alleging that two events passed off on the night of Friday 16 April 2021 – when England was underneath Step 2 Covid restrictions that banned indoor mixing.

The occasions, being probed by police, occurred on the night earlier than Prince Philip’s funeral that noticed the Queen sit alone at a socially-distanced ceremony.

According to the newspaper, witnesses stated that “excessive alcohol” was drunk and attendees danced to music. One level a staffer was allegedly despatched to a neighborhood Co-op grocery store with a suitcase to with bottles of wine.

One occasion was held for James Slack, the then-director of communications at No 10, who now works as deputy editor-in-chef at The Sun newspaper, and the opposite for Mr Johnson’s personal photographer.

This article was amended on 14 April 2022. It beforehand stated {that a} {photograph} confirmed wine and cheese being consumed by numerous people together with Matt Hancock, however the picture didn’t present Mr Hancock consuming or ingesting.

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