Partygate: Metropolitan Police fines ‘issued over No. 10 Christmas party’

Metropolitan Police are believed to have begun issuing several fines to Downing Street staff over rallies held in government offices under the Covid lockdown curbs.

Scotland Yard is starting to hand out fines over a Christmas party held in No. 10 on December 18, 2020, according to The mirror.

The festive party, whose details first surfaced late last year and sparked the Partygate scandal, is said to have been attended by dozens of Boris Johnson employees.

Scotland Yard would not confirm whether fines had yet been issued over the event – held while London was in strict Tier 3 action – but it is one of 12 events its Operation Hillman team is investigating.

Johnson was forced to address the issue of the party on Dec. 18 after the explosive leak of a video showing staff holding a fake press conference and making jokes about a Christmas party.

This led to the resignation of government aide Allegra Stratton and the announcement of an investigation by senior official Sue Grays’ investigation.

The report of fresh fines comes as senior tories tried to increase pressure on Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer over the so-called “Beergate” saga.

A leaked note in Mail on Sunday stated that the takeaway meal in Durham was planned as part of Sir Keir’s itinerary from 8.40pm to 10pm on campaign day in April last year, no further work was planned after dinner.

The only business listed after dinner is that Sir Keir has to go back to his hotel – he has previously claimed that he “pauses for food” and continued to work after the meal, saying “the idea that no one works at 10 o’clock at night is absurd ”.

Separately told a source who was present at the event Sunday Times: “He did not return to work to the best of my knowledge.” The same source said that some Labor people “were just there for a pleasure”.

A spokesman for Starmer’s office said: “Keir worked, a takeaway was made available in the kitchen and he ate between work requirements. No rules were broken.”

Secretary of Culture Nadine Dorries claimed the memo showed there was “no break in a working meeting”, while Secretary of State James Cleverly said: “Starmer claimed it was an impromptu curry. It turned out it was planned in advance.”

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab accused Sir Keir of “complete hypocrisy” over Durham beer and told Sky News on Sunday: “He has to celebrate and answer all the gaps in the account he gave for the beer-and-curry event in Durham. “

But Labor front-runner Lisa Nandy described Sir Keir as “Mr Rules” on Sunday, saying the Tory ministers’ attack on the Beergate saga was “frankly absurd and quite desperate”.

The shadow level secretary told the BBC Sunday morning program: “It is absurd to equate comic book parties, lies and laughter… and a work event that people broke to eat.”

She would not say whether Starmer should resign if he is fined for a takeaway. “I do not want to go into a hypothetical because I do not for one moment think he broke the rules,” Nandy said.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said it would be difficult for Sir Keir to continue as Labor leader if he is fined. “No politician is above the law,” he told the BBC. “If they get a fixed fine after a police investigation, it is extremely difficult for them to continue.”

In the meantime The mirror reported that Mr Johnson’s deputy director, private secretary Stuart Glassborow – pictured with the prime minister at a Christmas quiz on December 15 – left his job last week.

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