Boris in the clear as Met ends Partygate inquiry after 126 fines but no more for PM

19 May 2022, 10:53 | Updated: 19 May 2022, 14:19

The Metropolitan Police have completed their investigation into partygate
The Metropolitan Police have completed their investigation into partygate. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Boris Johnson has been cleared of more fines after the Metropolitan Police confirmed they had completed their investigation into alleged breaches of Covid regulations at Downing Street and Whitehall.

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The Prime Minister was told by the Met that he faced "no further action" and will not receive a second fine for breaching Covid laws, Downing Street said.

The force announced on Thursday morning that Operation Hillman has resulted in 126 fixed penalty notices (FPN) being dished out to those who were found to have broken lockdown rules.

A total of 53 men and 73 women received fines, with the Met saying 28 received between two and five FPNs.

No10 said that Mr Johnson was "pleased" the investigation had concluded.

He and his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were among those to have been fined.

The fines related to events on eight separate dates including 20 May 2020, 18 June 2020, 19 June 2020, 13 November 2020, 17 December 2020, 18 December 2020, 14 January 2021 and 16 April 2021.

Calls have already begun for the Sue Gray report to be published in full following the investigation.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Sue Gray will complete her work and then hand that over and then we will publish that as soon as possible. That has not happened yet.

"So in effect, timings are a matter for her, still, in terms of when she completes her report."

Asked if the intention is to publish the report in the form it is received, he said: "As received, yes."

A police spokesperson said: "We will not be releasing or confirming the identity of anyone involved in this investigation or providing further details of our findings, in line with the approach we’ve taken throughout the pandemic.

"Our position from early on in the pandemic was that we would not routinely investigate historic breaches of Covid regulations.

Read more: James O'Brien: Press 'conned' you that Partygate doesn't matter, I think it's worked

"This was for two reasons – first that we could not retrospectively engage and inform those involved that they were breaching the rules – an important step in our policing strategy around Covid - and second, that as these were summary-only offences, we did not judge it a proportionate use of officers’ time.

"However, we did recognise that there might be some exceptions to this approach, and set out at the time the criteria that would need to be met for us to consider a retrospective investigation."

A team of twelve detectives worked through 345 documents, including emails, door logs, diary entries and witness statements, 510 photographs and CCTV images and 204 questionnaires as part of a careful and thorough enquiry.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball, of the Met said: "There is no doubt that the pandemic impacted all of us in so many ways and strong feelings and opinions have been expressed on this particular issue.

Read more: Boris and Rishi say sorry over Partygate fines but insist they won't quit

"When Covid regulations were introduced, the Met was clear that whilst we would not routinely investigate breaches of regulations retrospectively, there may be occasions when it would be appropriate to do so.

"The information that we received with regard to the alleged breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall was sufficient to reach our criteria to begin such an investigation.

"Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN referral.

"This investigation is now complete."

The total cost of Operation Hillman was approx. £460,000.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey tweeted: "Boris Johnson's Downing Street was fined more times for breaking Covid laws than any other address in the country.

"The full Sue Gray report should now be published without delay.

"The public made huge sacrifices while Boris Johnson partied, they deserve the full truth."

This story is being updated, more follows.