No 10 have confirmed that prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak are to be issued ‘partygate’ fines.
An official spokesperson confirmed later this afternoon that the pair were fined over the PM’s 2020 birthday gathering, stating: “on 19th June 2020 at the Cabinet Room 10 Downing Street between 1400 and 1500 you participated in a gathering of two or more people indoors in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street”.
This morning the Metropolitan Police said they were in the process of issuing 30 more fixed penalty notices linked to the “partygate” scandal.
This brings the total fines announced over the matter to 50.
Operation Hillman is currently examining twelve gatherings on eight dates – three of which the PM is understood to have attended.
Sunak was alleged to have attended a birthday gathering for the prime minister in the Cabinet room.
Over 17,700 people have been fined by the Metropolitan Police for breaching Covid laws during the pandemic, including 113 fines for holding a gathering of over 30 people.
At the time of the investigation’s launch in January, police said it had over 500 documents and 300 photographs to examine that had been gathered by Sue Gray, the top civil servant who headed the Cabinet Office’s investigation into the claims.
In her initial report, Gray wrote that although the Met had not asked her to withhold information regarding the four events not judged to have reached the threshold for criminal investigation, she did “not feel” that she was able to publish all her findings in regards to them “without detriment to the overall balance of the findings.”
Her full report is yet to be released.
While a number of Conservative MPs previously urged the prime minister to resign over the accusations, most have since backtracked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for both the prime minister and chancellor to resign following No 10’s announcement this afternoon.
He stated via Twitter: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public.
“They must both resign.
“The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better.”
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group have expressed their “unbelievable pain” at the news.
Matt Fowler, co-founder of the group, has stated via Twitter: “There you have it – it’s now indisputable that whilst bereaved families were unable to be at their loved ones’ sides in their last moments, or stood at their funerals alone, the people responsible for protecting us in Downing St were partying and rule-breaking en masse.
“It’s a reality that is unbelievably painful for bereaved families like mine to face as we try and move forward with our lives.”
The group alleged via Twitter that the prime minister assured them that: “We [the government] did everything we could to save your loved ones,” and argued that they felt Johnson’s claims were “hollow words in the same garden rules were broken”.
The prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, will also receive a fixed penalty notice related to the gatherings.
A spokesperson said today: “In the interests of transparency, Mrs Johnson can confirm she has been notified that she will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice.
“She has not yet received any further details about the nature of the FPN.”