Injustice! Lots of VERY angry people Downing Street fury at Met Police Partygate fines

Partygate: ‘Moving on is offensive to me’ says SNP MP

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On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police said it had concluded its £460,000 inquiry into lockdown-busting parties at the top of Government during the Covid pandemic. Scotland Yard’s Operation Hillman was closed with a total of 126 fixed penalties handed out to 83 people, although it was confirmed Boris Johnson would not be punished further. He had already received a £50 fine in April for attending his own birthday party in June 2020 when indoor mixing was banned. The Met has declined to identify anyone in its investigation.

This comes days before the publication of senior civil servant Ms Gray’s separate report into coronavirus lockdown gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall.

But ITV News political editor Robert Peston has claimed there are “a lot of very angry and upset people” in Downing Street over how the 126 Partygate fines were levied.

An insider said most of those fines are very junior diary managers and “these fines are really stacking up for them”.

Mr Peston wrote on Twitter: “In Downing Street there is a sense of injustice and considerable upset that the 126 Partygate fines have been levied disproportionately on women and junior officials.

“One source said: ‘The majority of [those fined] are very junior diary managers etc on 24k-ish and these fines are really stacking up for them.

“Typically they are getting fined for events they were at with their males bosses who seem to have got away no problem.

“Pretty clear also that people who bothered lawyering up [like the PM] are fine. There is a lot of very angry and upset people”.

The ITV News political editor emphasised the importance of the long-awaited report from Ms Gray.

She has reportedly made clear she wants to protect the more junior officials and hang the responsibility of the rule-breaking on more senior named individuals.

Mr Peston has predicted an “anxious weekend” for Mr Johnson as he waits to find out what the senior civil servant says about his role in the creation of the rule-breaking culture.

He added in further tweets: “Much now hangs on the report by the senior Cabinet Office official Sue Gray, which will be published next week.

“Through colleagues, she has made clear that she wants to protect the more junior officials and hang responsibility for Downing Street’s rule breaking culture on more senior named individuals.

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“The big question is whether her report corrects the perceived unfairness of the distribution of fines and identifies who at the top was to blame.

“The PM will have an anxious weekend as he waits to read what Gray says about his role in the creation of the compromised culture at the top of Whitehall and Government.”

Number 10 has insisted the decision on whether to name people involved in the lockdown parties will rest solely with Ms Gray when her report is published next week.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson was asked about suggestions of a dispute about Ms Gray naming senior officials in her document.

He told reporters: “I’ve seen the reports overnight and this morning but it remains the case that it is for Sue Gray to decide what information she includes in her report.

“I can’t pre-empt her content or presentation.

“As with the interim report, it is purely a matter for Sue Gray how she wants to present the report and what it includes.”

The spokesman was also asked whether Downing Street was negotiating over who is named in Ms Gray’s report.

He replied: “Sue Gray is compiling the report independently and how she does that, and the contents of it, and what is presented is entirely a matter for her.”

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