Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to be fined for Downing Street lockdown-breaking parties

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The confirmation from No 10 that Johnson and Sunak are going to receive fines is expected to spark a political firestorm. 

The Metropolitan Police is set to fine Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak for breaching lockdown rules.

The fixed penalty notice sent to the prime minister and Mr Sunak is part of fines sent to government staff who attended parties in Whitehall when COVID restrictions were in place during 2020 and 2021.

In January, the Met launched an investigation into 12 events where restrictions may have been breached.

No 10 confirmed the pair had received notification from the Metropolitan Police that they would be given fixed penalty notices.

A spokesman for No 10 said: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have today received notification that the Metropolitan Police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices. We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do.”

Scotland Yard announced this morning that it was issuing another wave of fines over lockdown breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall, taking the total number to more than 50. 

Officers required around 100 Downing Street and Whitehall staff members to fill out questionnaires as part of the investigation – named Operation Hillman.

Police issued the first 20 fines on 1 April to people who attended a leaving do for a Number 10 official on 18 June 2020 in the Cabinet Office building at 70 Whitehall.

Some of those fines were also handed out to people who attended two events on 16 April 2021, the day before Prince Philip’s funeral.

Fixed penalty notices do not amount to a criminal conviction, but they can result in a court summons and criminal prosecution if they are not paid.

The 12 events investigated by the police took place over eight separate dates and include a “bring your own booze” event in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020, organised by the PM’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds. Another was a surprise birthday gathering for Boris Johnson in the cabinet room in June 2020, attended by the chancellor.

Several Conservative MPs had called for Mr Johnson to resign over the parties, but some have changed their stance since the war in Ukraine began just over a month ago.

Scotland Yard launched its investigation following the conclusion of the internal government inquiry led by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

A restricted version of her report was published at the end of January, but many details were removed so as not to compromise the police investigation.

It is unclear whether the full report will now be published. The PM’s official spokesman has previously said discussions were needed “with the Met and others about what is suitable”.

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