London Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday that investigations were ongoing and more so-called notices could be issued at a later date.
The announcement is the first official confirmation that the events in Downing Street and Whitehall violated laws created by the Johnson government – and comes four months after the prime minister refused to organize a party and insisted that all guidelines be followed.
The so-called ‘Partygate’ scandal, which erupted in late 2021, created the most serious threat to date on Prime Minister Johnson. His early denial of any wrongdoing – coupled with the subsequent disclosure that he himself had attended several parties that officers investigated – sparked calls for his resignation from the entire political spectrum.
“We are making every effort to expedite this investigation and we have carried out a series of assessments,” the police said in a statement Tuesday. They added that “in view of the large amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed”, more fines could be recommended “if a threshold of evidence is established”.
The statement on Tuesday did not mention any of the persons who would be fined, nor did it indicate which of the events studied involved breaking the rules. CNN has made its way to Downing Street.
While the identities of the fined people have not been made public, Downing Street has previously said it will disclose if Johnson himself is fined.
Officers are investigating at least 12 events, several of which Johnson was present. The Metropolitan Police previously revealed that it had received over 300 photos and 500 pages of information to review.
The investigation delayed the full publication of a separate, internal investigation by civil servant Sue Gray. In a brief update of her report in January, Gray condemned the many parties, the excessive drinking culture, and “lack of leadership” in Johnson’s government while the rest of the country lived under the ban.
Responding to these arrangements in Parliament at the time, Johnson said: “Sorry for the things we just didn’t do right.” He also tried to draw a border under the scandal, saying he would “fix it” but declined to answer several questions from lawmakers citing an ongoing police investigation.
Johnson survived this initial round of criticism, and his position in the polls slightly improved as the focus was on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But Partygate remains a thorny issue for the government as it moves towards local nationwide elections in May.
Labor’s shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, tweeted on Tuesday after police ordered the fines: “According to Boris Johnson, these were parties that never happened. He is a proven liar and has lied to the House of Commons and the country many times.