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"Partygate" penalties: U.K. police recommend fines over parties at PM's home during COVID lockdown

"Partygate" report slams Boris Johnson
Report slams U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson over lockdown parties 06:10

London — U.K. police said Tuesday that they were recommending 20 fines for breaches of coronavirus lockdown regulations at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's own residence and offices. The London Metropolitan Police has been investigating 12 parties and gatherings, some of which were attended by Johnson himself, that took place during the height of the country's COVID lockdown in 2020.

The police said they would not identify which gathering the notices were being issued over, as that could enable the identification of the individuals involved. The fine for attending any event with over 15 people during the lockdown was set at approximately $1,050.

"We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed and have completed a number of assessments," the police said in a statement, adding that "due to the significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed," further referrals for fines could come later. 

The "Partygate" scandal sparked national outrage and calls for Johnson's resignation earlier this year as Britons learned that the people making the rules to control COVID-19 appeared to have been having parties, with alcohol and snacks, in the seat of the U.K.'s top executive power while the rest of the country was forbidden from visiting dying relatives in hospitals or attending funerals.

U.K. leader Boris Johnson promises reform after release of "partygate" report 05:06

In January, a long-awaited internal government report into the parties found that "at least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time."

The civil servant who put together that report, Sue Gray, said she had to constrain what she made public as 12 of the gatherings were being investigated by the police.

Despite the limitations, she condemned the behavior of some of those at Johnson's official residence, Number 10 Downing Street, criticizing the "excessive consumption of alcohol" in the workplace.

"There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No. 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did," Gray said.

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