Downing Street Staffers Missed Partygate Fine Notices as They Went to Junk Mail, Report Suggests
06:58 GMT 03.04.2022 (Updated: 15:18 GMT 28.05.2023)
Scotland Yard has sent legal questionnaires to over 100 people, and decided to fine at least 20 of them, reportedly issuing first fine notices last week for people attending a leaving party for private secretary Hannah Young on 18 June 2020.
Downing Street staffers initially missed their fines for "partygate" violations, as the letters were sent to junk email folders, according to the Daily Mail.
Now, clerks are searching their emails to check if they were fined for breaching the pandemic regulations - since fines will double if not paid within a fortnight, and could lead to court if not settled within 28 days.
The Metropolitan Police previously said that at least 20 people were found ,to have violated the rules so far, but refused to reveal their names. In the meantime, Downing Street noted it would only reveal if Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak or Cabinet Secretary Simon Case were fined.
© AFP 2023 / ANDY BUCHANANBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the 2022 Scottish Conservatives Spring Conference at the Exhibition Centre in Aberdeen, north-east Scotland on March 18, 2022
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the 2022 Scottish Conservatives Spring Conference at the Exhibition Centre in Aberdeen, north-east Scotland on March 18, 2022
© AFP 2023 / ANDY BUCHANAN
The "partygate" scandal started last year, after multiple reports revealed that numerous social gatherings were held at the PM's offices in 2020 and 2021, despite tough restrictions imposed by the government. Johnson himself admitted to attending at least one of the parties, but claimed he had not broken the rules and considered the events work-related.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray, who was tasked with investigating the gatherings, later published a report saying there were "failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office" and that "some of the events should not have been allowed to take place".
The scandal triggered a backlash in parliament with the Labour Party, as well as some conservative MPs, urging the prime minister to step down.
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