Police to reveal number of fines issued for ‘partygate’ gatherings

Scotland Yard will reveal the number of people fined at each “partygate” event being investigated and explain why the decision was taken, civil servants have been told.

A question and answer sheet sent to government officials caught up in the inquiry, a copy of which has been seen by The Telegraph, says the civil service will not be told who gets fined.

Government staff facing allegations of attending lockdown-breaking parties are told to talk to their supervisors if they need time off to deal with what is happening.

There had been confusion about whether the public would know the outcome of the Metropolitan Police’s “partygate” investigation, given that individuals who receive fines will not be named.

But one line in the question and answer sheet reads: “The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] approach during the pandemic has been to confirm the number of FPNs [fixed penalty notices] issued at particular events and to explain what those FPNs were issued for.”

Fixed Penalty Notices are fines that can be imposed if someone is found to have broken Covid laws.

It means the Met is expected to reveal how many people – if any – are fined for a gathering in Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat on Nov 13, 2020.

The gathering is seen as the most politically challenging for the Prime Minister because it took place in his home and allegedly involved Abba music blaring out.

The Telegraph has previously reported that Mr Johnson was in the flat that evening but is expected to argue that he was working some of the night. He has denied there was a party.

It has been alleged that Carrie Johnson and advisers gathered in the flat after Dominic Cummings, then a senior Downing Street adviser, was ousted.

The same Met approach of naming how many fines have been issued is expected for all the dozen events that took place in government buildings and are being investigated by police.

Mr Johnson is already facing warnings from Tory MPs that he could see a renewed push to force him from office if he is fined for breaking Covid laws.

The Prime Minister has declined to promise he will resign if he is fined, and some reports have suggested he would fight on as leader should that happen.

He has consistently argued he has not broken lockdown laws and is using a private lawyer to help respond to a questionnaire issued to him by Scotland Yard last week.

His defence will focus on the idea that his attendance at as many as six of the events being investigated was for work rather than socialising.

Mr Johnson’s legal team is expected to argue that speeches he gave at leaving events were part of his work, even if other attendees stayed late to drink and chat after he had left.

The question and answer sheet was produced by the newly created Liaison Unit, which sits within the Cabinet Office but separate from civil servant Sue Gray’s investigations team.

The generic advice is understood to have been issued to many of those who have been interviewed by Ms Gray or who attended events being investigated by the police.

One question asks whether the civil service will “make public” details of the fines. The answer reads: “No. The Met will not publish the names of those who have received FPNs and the civil service will not know the details of recipients.”

But another response makes it clear that civil servants who undergo security vetting for sensitive roles should reveal if they have been fined, even though that alone would not block them from getting such jobs.

Another question asks whether the civil service will pay for any fines issued. “No,” the response reads, going on to say the fines “apply to individuals and would not be funded by the taxpayer”.

A further question: “Can I take time off to handle this?” has the answer: “We are keen to support individuals through this difficult period. If you need flexibility, please discuss this with your line manager.”

On Monday, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, revealed he had faced death threats after Mr Johnson alleged that he had failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he Director of Public Prosecutions. There is no suggestion that Sir Keir was aware of the claims against Savile and failed to act.

Asked whether he felt responsible for the death threats faced by Sir Keir and whether he would apologise, Mr Johnson said: “I’ve said more than enough about that issue.”


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