Met Police: 20 fines will be issued to people who attended lockdown parties British prime minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions at the parliament in London, Britain, on January 19, 2022, in this screen grab taken from a video. (Reuters TV via REUTERS)
LONDON’S Met police probing the alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws by prime minister Boris Johnson and his staff in Downing Street said Tuesday (29) that 20 initial fines will be issued.
“We will today initially begin to refer 20 fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations,” the Met Police said, adding further fines could follow “if the evidential threshold is made”.
The force noted it will not be disclosing the number or identities of those being fined, but Johnson is reportedly not among those in the first wave of sanctions.
Downing Street has previously said it will disclose significant developments in the probe relating to the prime minister.
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Public outcry over the so-called “Partygate” scandal left Johnson fighting for political survival in recent months after a number of MPs from his Conservative Party publicly called for his resignation.
He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Pressure had eased on the British leader after the issue disappeared from the headlines following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Western response to the war there.
But Tuesday’s developments signal the affair could once again return to haunt Johnson, with the 57-year-old facing a fine unless he can explain why he was at the events at a time when his government was telling the public that doing so was illegal.
The prime minister has already apologised in parliament for the series of gatherings in 2020 and 2021 identified in an official inquiry that prompted the police probe.
“We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed and have completed a number of assessments,” the Met Police said in its statement.
“However due to the significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed, further referrals may be made… if the evidential threshold is made.”
Johnson’s office confirmed last month that he had submitted his response to a police questionnaire relating to the parties’ probe.
Sources said he had not been interviewed in person by investigating officers.