Partygate fines 'do not move things forward' says Weston MP

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVI

John Penrose has spoken out after 20 fines were issued for partygate. - Credit: PA

Weston MP John Penrose believes that the Met Police's decision to issue fines for partygate lawbreakers does not move the saga forward.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been handed to 20 unnamed party-goers who breached lockdown rules in a series of Downing Street and Whitehall gatherings in 2020 and 2021.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson confirmed he was not featured in the first batch of FPNs despite him being one of 100 people who were sent legal questionnaires relating to the investigation. 

MP John Penrose at the Job Fair.

Mr Penrose said in January that "justice will have to be done promptly.” - Credit: Archant

Mr Penrose, Boris Johnson's anti-corruption champion, believes that without knowing who was handed fines, as is Met protocol, it is hard to distinguish if the Prime Minister was aware of the rule-breaking.

He said: "In spite of the seriousness of all the allegations, I am afraid today’s news does not move things much further forward.

"Without knowing any names of the people who’ve been fined, it is impossible to know whether they are civil servants who report to Whitehall mandarins, or political advisors who report to Ministers, and therefore whether the Prime Minister knew or should have been aware of the rule-breaking.

"So it is still incredibly frustrating, but we will have to wait a bit longer."

Earlier this year, Weston's Conservative MP told the Mercury he wanted 'justice' to be done 'promptly' after it emerged more than 10 parties were held while the country was unable to visit loved ones.

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Civil servant Sue Gray is yet to fully publish her long-awaited report on the partygate saga, a role she took from Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case who also faces the prospect of being handed an FPN.

John Penrose (Conservatives. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Conservative Anti-corruption Champion, John Penrose. - Credit: Archant

Mr Penrose hopes to see the report published in full once it is ready.

He added: "Ministers have promised to publish the full Sue Gray report once the Met have finished so everything will be revealed in the end and, once it is, I believe everyone should face the same penalties as the rest of the country if they broke the rules.”

The Met confirmed that its inquiries were continuing despite this batch of fines, meaning further FPNs could be issued.

It said: "However, due to the significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed, further referrals may be made if the evidential threshold is made.”