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Met to issue 20 fines as part of No10 partygate investigation

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The Metropolitan Police investigation into 12 events held across government was launched in late January after an internal inquiry led by civil servant Sue Gray passed information to the force.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government have been battered by reports of staff parties in Downing Street when Covid restrictions were in place.

The Met said 20 fixed penalty notices will be referred to the ACRO Criminal Records Office, which will then be responsible for issuing the fines. It also warned more referrals may be made in the future.

In a statement, the force said that “due to the significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed”, there could be “further referrals” made for fines to be issued.

While Scotland Yard has confirmed that at least 20 fines will be issued, it has declined to reveal who they have been issued to, or which alleged lockdown-breaking event they relate to.

It said that it would follow College of Policing guidelines that the identities of those dealt with by fines should not be revealed.

“We will not confirm the number of referrals from each individual event subject to our investigation as providing a breakdown at this point may lead to identification of the individuals,” said a force spokesperson.

Labour has called for Boris Johnson to resign from office if he is fined for breaking lockdown rules. Mr Johnson has denied any breach of the rules during the ‘Partgate’ controversy.

Downing Street has pledged to reveal if the prime minister is among those fined, but has said it would not release the identity of junior staff.

Tory MPs have been urged by former party leader Iain Duncan Smith not to topple Mr Johnson if he is fined.

Mr Duncan Smith told Talk Radio: “The truth is right now as far as I’m concerned we have much bigger issues to deal with, we have a cost-of-living crisis.

“Then of course there is Ukraine, potential extension of that war; our support for them and keeping the western nations absolutely aligned and locked together.

“All these things require big leadership and Boris Johnson has in these areas stepped up and we need to make sure that we don’t disappear into ourselves and start arguing about this.”

However, he also suggested the Prime Minister may have to apologise to the nation if he broke lockdown laws or other Covid restrictions which were being followed by millions of people.

“The truth is what happened happened, people involved in that need to take the penalty like everybody else did, and having apologised to apologise if necessary again,” added Mr Duncan Smith.

“But I don’t think this is a case of now trying to get rid of the Prime Minister.”

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said the prime minister should resign despite the ongoing Ukraine crisis if he is among those who are fined.

“I think it’s important the support that we’ve given to the Ukrainian people, and we’ve been very clear in supporting the government in that and I think that’s a very serious situation and that it’s right that we’ve been united on that,” she said.

“But that doesn’t negate the prime minister from lying to the British public and if he thinks it does then he’s sadly mistaken.”

In January, senior civil servant Sue Gray released a preliminary report from her investigation into alleged lockdown-breaking events in Downing Street and Whitehall, finding that “at least some of the gatherings” represented “serious failure” to observe what was asked of the public at the time.

A fuller report is expected to be published after the conclusion of the Met’s inquiries, with Boris Johnson previously saying he would “fix” any issues identified by the report.

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