Scotland Yard has finally closed the “Partygate” investigation with the imposition of a total of 126 fines in Downing Street for the violation of the Covid rules. The “premier” Boris Johnson, who was already fined 100 pounds (118 euros) for his participation in his birthday party on June 19, 2020, has not been sanctioned again despite having participated in a total of six of the twelve meetings under investigation, as anticipated by the BBC.
Of the 126 fines imposed, 53 correspond to men and 73 to women, including Carrie Johnson herself, who organized the controversial birthday party for which Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak was also sanctioned. Downing Street has not revealed the name of the rest of those sanctioned, which could include the chief of staff, Simon Case.
The end of the police investigation has been received by Johnson with relative relief, for having avoided the possibility of new fines that would have once again put him in a compromising political situation. Even so, the “premier” faces the impact that the full publication in the coming days of the internal “Partygate” report by senior official Sue Gray may have, which concluded that the excesses committed during the Downing Street lockdowns were due to “a lack of leadership”.
“There is no doubt that the pandemic has impacted us all in many ways and that we all have a strong feeling and opinion about what happened,” acknowledged Scotland Yard’s chief deputy commissioner, Helen Ball, at the official closing of the investigation. “When the Covid rules were introduced, the police made it clear that they would not routinely investigate alleged breaches, but only on occasions when appropriate.”
“The information we had about the possible infractions in Downing Street and in the government offices in Whitehall was sufficient to justify an investigation that has been impartial and as quick as possible,” added Ball, who specified Scotland Yard’s efforts to differentiate the acts occurred in offices and homes (referring to the “premier’s” mansion at number 10 and the adjoining apartment at number 11).
The investigation has cost more than half a million euros and has required the work of 12 detectives, who have examined 345 documents and 510 photographs, as well as images recorded by security cameras, plus the 204 questionnaires sent by the people who allegedly participated in the twelve celebrations investigated by the “Partygate”.
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