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12 January 2022

Thousands of people have been fined over rules allegedly broken by No 10 parties

Since May 2020, the police has issued over 80,000 fixed-penalty notices for illegal gatherings.

By Ben van der Merwe

Police in England and Wales have issued over 80,000 fixed-penalty notices for illegal gatherings since May 2020, including 75,676 relating to the regulations alleged to have been breached by the parties in Downing Street and government departments.

The Metropolitan Police are facing growing criticism for their failure to investigate and prosecute alleged breaches of lockdown regulations by government figures, despite having handed out 17,824 fixed-penalty notices relating to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The Good Law Project announced on Tuesday (11 December) that it had started legal proceedings against the Met for its failure to investigate the allegations. 

A total of 57,757 fines relating to illegal gatherings were issued when England was under the tier system, when rule-breaking gatherings are alleged to have taken place in No 10, in Conservative Party headquarters and in two government departments.

Nine alleged illegal gatherings have come to light since December last year, none of which have resulted in fines. Jolyon Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, told the Guardian: “You can have the rule of law, or you can defer to the powerful. But you can’t have both.”

On Monday (10 January), ITV published an email showing a senior Downing Street aide inviting staff to a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden. The party is alleged to have taken place on 20 May 2020, during the first national lockdown. The Met has said that it is in touch with the Cabinet Office over the new allegations.

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