Sunday, 3 July 2022 – 14:07

Met Police Issue 50 more fines over Covid-19 breaches

The new batch of fines brings the total number of fines issued for a series of No. 10 parties to over 100.

The fines are understood to have been issued in relation to the Downing St. party on the 18th of December 2020, one of 12 parties currently being investigated by the Metropolitan police force.

Previously the Met issued more than 50 fines on April 12th, including to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. Neither has been issued a fine in this new batch, as neither was present at the party on the 18th.

The party in question drew the ire of the public after footage was leaked showing No. 10 spokesperson Allegra Stratton jokingly giving a press conference making light of the event. The leak led to Allegra Statton resigning, although some accused the government of using Stratton as a scapegoat, as she had not actually been at the party itself.

The Labour Party, especially the Leader and Deputy Leader, have been somewhat muted in their criticism of the recipients of the new fines, after Durham police launched an investigation into so-called “Beergate” on Friday. Labour leader Keir Starmer had previously heavily pressed the issue of ministers receiving fines, insistent that they should resign, leading to Starmer announcing that he himself would resign if he is issued a fine over Beergate.

Other political party representatives had no such reservations about pressing the issue.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said:

“Boris Johnson stood up in Parliament and said Covid rules were followed in No 10 at all times.

“Now 100 fines have been issued by the police over Partygate. It shows the shocking scale of the law-breaking in Johnson’s Downing Street and the extent of his lies.”

While SNP commons leader Ian Blackford tweeted:

“Just shocking that law breaking on an industrial scale happening at the seat of Government, in the very office of BorisJohnson.”

The Met police’s investigation into the string of parties at No. 10 is ongoing, and it’s likely that yet more fines are around the corner. No. 10 has promised that it will announce if the Prime Minister receives any further fines, with Johnson believed to have attended at least 6 of the 12 parties. Once the police investigation is concluded, civil servant Sue Gray, who has been conducting an investigation into the string of parties, will release her report in full. It was previously released in-part in February.

A string of scandals and fines have left Johnson’s approval ratings with much to be desired, with yougov polls putting him at 68% disapproval, and many voters who would normally vote Conservative voicing their dissatisfaction by voting against the tories in last week’s local elections, leading to the Conservative party losing almost 500 council seats. While Johnson has held on for longer than many pundits predicted, any further fines issued to the premier will re-ignite dissent within his own party; while Starmer’s promise to resign if fined will undoubtedly be used to raise further questions about the PM’s scruples (or lack thereof) once the Beergate investigation is concluded.

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