Partygate: police to issue first 20 fines over Downing Street lockdown-busting parties

Police confirmation of the gatherings sparks fresh calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.

The first 20 fines are to be issued to Government figures and advisors over lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, with more penalty notices expected to follow.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating at least 12 events, held in 2020 and 2021, including six Prime Minister Boris Johnson is thought to have attended that breached COVID regulations.

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The news has brought fresh calls for the PM to resign.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arriving for a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London as the first 'partygate' fines are issued.

The Metropolitan Police said: “We will today initially begin to refer 20 fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of COVID-19 regulations.

“The ACRO Criminal Records Office will then be responsible for issuing the FPNs to the individual following the referrals from the MPS.

“Further referrals may be made to ACRO if the evidential threshold is made.”

The police action confirms that COVID-19 regulations were broken by officials of the same Government that had issued them to the public.

Many of the lockdown-busting gatherings took place when people could not attend funerals or say farewell to loved ones dying in hospital.

Members of Boris Johnson’s own Conservative party called for him to quit as Prime Minister when the ‘partygate’ scandal first emerged in 2021 and he is once again under pressure.

A protester holds a placard with an image of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson including the words "Now Partygate" backdropped by the Houses of Parliament

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said: “Boris Johnson’s Downing Street has been found guilty of breaking the law.

“The culture is set from the very top. The buck stops with the Prime Minister, who spent months lying to the British public, which is why he has got to go.”

At the time the allegations came out Johnson insisted all the rules had been followed.

He later backtracked and apologised to parliament for attending one event and then to the Queen for another party held on the eve of Prince Phillip’s funeral.

Government minister Will Quince told Sky News: “I completely understand the considerable upset caused, the events that took place shouldn’t have happened.

“But I hope you’ll understand that both as an education minister but more importantly, as there’s an ongoing live Metropolitan Police investigation, it’s just not appropriate that I comment.”

He said questions over whether the Prime Minister should resign if fined were “hypothetical”.