The Partygate bill totals £20,000 after Boris and co paid Met Police fines

Boris Johnson was among those fined by police for a series of gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall (Image: REX/Getty)

Boris Johnson was among those fined by police for a series of gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall (Image: REX/Getty)

The total bill for the Metropolitan Police’s Partygate fines comes to almost £20,000 after all the fines imposed have been paid, police have confirmed.

Boris Johnson was among the politicians and staff to face the penalty after a series of gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall where coronavirus rules were broken.

The Partygate affair, including alcoholic Christmas drinks, is one of the scandals that have marred the outgoing prime minister’s final months in office.

In all, Met Police issued 64 fines of £100 and 62 of £200, according to data released following a Freedom of Information Act request by None of the fines have been contested.

Partygate is still reverberating in the background of Mr Johnson’s tenure, having announced his resignation from No10 yesterday following an avalanche of ministerial resignations.

The gatherings were investigated by Sue Gray, whose account detailed excessive drinking and late-night gatherings in the heart of Westminster during the pandemic.

Mr Johnson paid a £50 fixed-term fine issued by the Met for attending his birthday celebration in Downing Street’s Cabinet Room in June 2020.

The fine means he is the first sitting prime minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law.

The Tory leader apologized for breaking lockdown rules but brushed aside calls for his resignation. He said at the time: “I have paid the fine and once again I apologize fully.”

07/07/2022. London, United Kingdom. Resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks back through Door No 10 after making his statement at Downing Street after resigning as leader of the Conservative Party. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No. 10 Downing Street

Partygate was one of the scandals that overshadowed much of Boris Johnson’s tenure (Image: Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street)

Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie and then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak were also fined after Met police launched Operation Hillman.

The charges were reportedly all paid at the reduced rate of £50 as they were settled within 14 days. Mr Sunak apologized “unreservedly” at the time, saying: “I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry.”

Gatherings in 2020 and 2021 included the Downing Street Christmas party where, according to Ms Gray’s inquiry, staff played secret Santa on “Wine Time Friday” and “drank to excess”.

The results of the police investigation were released in May this year, six days before the senior officer’s full report was released.

Twelve detectives went through 345 documents before fines were imposed, totaling £18,800 and costing the investigation £460,000.

EDITORS NOTE: IMAGE EDITED AT SOURCE Handout photo dated 11/13/20 issued by the Cabinet Office, showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting at 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser, which was released with the release of Sue Gray's report at Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown. Issue date: Wednesday May 25, 2022. PA Photo. Full publication of the parties was pushed aside during Operation Hillman, the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the gatherings. The force concluded its investigation on May 19, with a total of 126 fines imposed on 83 people. See PA story POLITICS Johnson. Photo credit should read: Sue Gray Report/Cabinet Office/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to simultaneously illustrate events, things or people in the photo or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Boris Johnson gestures at 10 Downing Street during a meeting to mark the departure of a special counsel on November 13, 2020 (Image: via Reuters)

Political commentator Darren Lilleker said: “Partygate will be of particular importance to those who are deprived of seeing loved ones, especially in their final moments. But for the vast majority of the population, the parties themselves probably don’t matter.

Rather, Partygate will forever be a symbol of Boris Johnson’s attitude towards rules, even those he made himself. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a cavalier attitude towards conventions of conduct and even the rule of law itself. The fact that he oversaw, and perhaps even encouraged, his own office workers to “let their hair down” or “let off steam” demonstrates his desire to be liked, to be a positive but often neglectful leader — in the workplace or in the country .’

The spotlight on Covid rules fell on Labor today, with leader Sir Keir Starmer acquitted of wrongdoing by Durham Police after an inquiry into alleged breaches of the lockdown at an event in April 2021.

The force said “no further action” would be taken against Sir Keir and his deputy Angela Rayner over the “Beergate” claims.

Sir Keir said: “People told me I was taking a risk by saying I would resign if I got a fine. But that was never the point. For me it was about the principle. It should not be controversial to say that those who make the law cannot break the law. But we have to raise the bar much higher.”

Coronavirus restrictions ended in February 2022, nearly two years after the pandemic unleashed unprecedented restrictions on daily life.

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Justin Scacco

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