This set of penalties is the first to be issued in the "partygate" scandal — though more are expected, as the Met has yet to complete its full investigation. According to The Guardian these initial fines will be announced "imminently".
"The Cabinet Office has been told that an initial tranche of approximately 20 officials will be fined in next day or so for partying in breach of Covid 19 restrictions," ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston says. These initial 20 are seen as the “easiest cases”, the “low hanging fruit”.
Big day in Westminster.— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) March 29, 2022
- As many as 20 fines due to be issued over partygate
- We don’t know if this first tranche includes PM
- Comes as relatives mark 2 years of the Covid memorial wall opposite Parliament
- Then PM woos MPs at a huge dinner tonighthttps://t.co/tUQHyo8Jqc
However, it is still uncertain whether Boris Johnson will receive any fines for his involvement or attendance at the Downing Street parties.
This investigation by the Met Police was happening in parallel, not in association with, the inquiry by civil servant Sue Gray. Gray's inquiry was critical "failures of leadership and judgement" over the gatherings, between May 2020 and April 2021.
Of the 16 gatherings that Gray was investigating, the Met Police are investigating all but four. The police have said to ITV that they will "not be providing any running commentary".
These parties have garnered the ruling Conservative party a lot of backlash and criticism. At the time, several Conservative MPs had even called for the Prime Minister to resign, but they have changed their minds in recent weeks due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Today Labour's Angela Rayner said that Boris Johnson is responsible for law-breaking at No 10 because “the culture is set from the very top” - the Guardian says. She, and many other MPs in the Labour party, all for the Prime Minister's resignation.
As explained by BBC's Laura Kuennesberg, Boris Johnson was in attendance at these three parties: 20 May 2020 in the Downing Street garden; 19 June 2020 in the Cabinet Room for the prime minister's birthday; and 13 November 2020 on the departure of a special adviser.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter