Sun. May 22nd, 2022

London’s Metropolitan Police will issue the first 20 fines on Tuesday for parties that broke coronavirus regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street in the “partygate” scandal.

The force has been investigating more than a dozen gatherings in 2020 and 2021 that broke Covid-19 restrictions, including at 10 Downing Street and 70 Whitehall, where the Cabinet Office is based. An internal civil service investigation, led by senior official Sue Graywas paused when the police opened its inquiries in February.

On Tuesday, the police said in a statement that it would “today initially begin to refer 20 fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations”.

The force said it would not name those who have been fined. “We will not confirm the number of referrals from each individual event subject to our investigation as providing a breakdown at this point may lead to identification of the individuals.”

Downing Street has suggested it would state if Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fined but has declined to say whether it would confirm if other senior civil servants or government figures have received penalties.

Senior Whitehall officials said further rounds of fines are expected after Tuesday, which are expected to cover the more contentious allegations of those who allegedly broke lockdown rules. “The first round covers the most blatant cases,” one said.

The Met said further fines may be issued “if the evidential threshold is made” but noted the “significant amount of investigative material”, including more than 300 images. “We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed and have completed a number of assessments,” it said.

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