July 4, 2022

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Fines issued for No 10 party on eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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Metropolitan Police are believed to have issued fines to government staff who attended a party at No 10 on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral last year.

Fixed-penalty notices (FPN) have been handed to some who attended the 16 April leaving gathering for former communications director James Slack by email, according to the BBC.

It comes as cabinet minister Simon Hart claimed “the world has moved on” from the Partygate scandal – and warned against a “self-indulgent” leadership contest if Boris Johnson receives a fine.

Asked if the idea of a party on the eve of the funeral “sits comfortably” with him, Mr Hart told Sky News: “Of course it doesn’t, why should it? … It doesn’t sit comfortably for anybody.”

However, the Welsh secretary said his constituents would not want the PM to resign if fined. “They say they want contrition and they want an apology, but they don’t want a resignation.”

Mr Hart added: “The idea that it might be appropriate to have a six-week, self-indulgent leadership contest – frankly, I don’t that’s very sensible … The world has moved on a considerable distance.”

The government’s former ethics chief Helen MacNamara has also been fined over the “partygate” scandal as part of the initial round of 20 fines, according to reports.

Ms MacNamara, who used to be the deputy cabinet secretary, is said to be among the first group of people to receive a FPN as part of the police investigation into lockdown-breaching parties.

She received a £50 fine on Friday in connection with a leaving do held in the Cabinet Office on 18 June 2020 to mark the departure of a private secretary, according to The Telegraph.

Some officials who joined Mr Slack’s leaving do on 16 April last year were told they will be given fines, The Guardian first reported.

See also  Labour MP signed off sick after ‘sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse’

Downing Street staff reportedly held such a boisterous party that they broke a garden swing used by the prime minister’s son Wilf.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson will reportedly not be interviewed by the Metropolitan Police as part of their investigation into alleged lockdown-breaching parties.

This is because the force is not interviewing those who have received questionnaires as part of the inquiries, and could potentially be fined, according to ITV News.

The Met is investigating 12 events, including as many as six Mr Johnson is said to have attended, and has sent out more than 100 questionnaires. The PM received his in February.

ITV host Robert Peston said the only officials being interviewed are “witnesses”, whose role is to help the police interpret questionnaires submitted by other people.

“The Met are not interviewing those who received questionnaires and are in the frame to be fined,” he said.

Scotland Yard declined to comment.

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