Metropolitan police issue 20 fines over lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street
The Metropolitan Police force announced on Tuesday that it has issued 20 fines to offenders who’d violated Covid restrictions by attending lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street and Whitehall in 2020 and 2021.
The UK police force launched an investigation in January into 12 events at which rules may have been breached, requiring around 100 Downing Street and Whitehall staff, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to fill out questionnaires as part of the investigation.
“The investigation into allegations of breaches of COVID-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street has now progressed to the point where the first referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPN) will be made to ACRO Criminal Records Office,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“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.”
Johnson received a questionnaire on February 11, after speculation he may have attended up to six of the events under investigation. The premier's spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that he has not been issued with a fine, at this time, for breaching Covid regulations.
Scotland Yard began its investigation following an internal government investigation conducted by senior civil servant Sue Gray. A redacted version of her report was released in January, claiming that “failures of leadership and judgment” had led to a “serious failure to observe standards of government and those expected of the public at the time.”
The controversy around the allegations of lockdown-breaking parties and the release of a redacted version of Gray’s report led to members of Johnson’s own Conservative Party calling on him to resign over the violations of rules that his own government had set.