The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that it will issue 20 initial fixed penalty notices as it continues its investigation into gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall that broke Covid restrictions.
The force had sent out more than 100 questionnaires quizzing individuals on their participation in the gatherings and interviewed a number of key witnesses prior to the decision to issue an initial wave of fines.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “We will today initially begin to refer 20 fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations. The ACRO Criminal Records Office will then be responsible for issuing the fixed penalty notices to the individual following the referrals from the Metropolitan Police Service.
“We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed and have completed a number of assessments. However due to the significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed, further referrals may be made to ACRO if the evidential threshold is made.”
12 gatherings that took place while Covid lockdown laws were in place are being investigated by the police, with the PM known to have attended three of them.
While the names of the individuals and the specific events that any fines relate to will not be publicly disclosed, Downing Street has said that it will confirm if the prime minister is one of those handed a fine.
Any of those fined must pay within 28 days or declare that they wish to contest it, in which case the police consider whether to withdraw the penalty or take the case to the courts.
While calls for Boris Johnson to resign over the lockdown parties have quietened since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, some MPs have suggested that they are waiting on the conclusion of the Met's investigation and the full disclosure of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the matter before casting judgement on the prime minister’s future.
The police investigation continues.
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