Boris Johnson faces calls to apologise as figures show ordinary people were slapped with fixed penalty notices while Downing Street had a festive knees-up
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Boris Johnson stands accused of “rank hypocrisy” after a Downing Street Christmas party went ahead while over 70,000 ordinary people were fined last year for lockdown-breaking get-togethers.
Data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council reveals 74,354 people were hit with fixed penalty notices for illegal parties or gatherings under Covid regulations between March 2019 and the end of Covid curbs in July.
These were typically fines of £200, meaning Brits could have paid a staggering £15m for holding illegal gatherings.
Meanwhile, the Met Police has said there is not enough evidence to launch an investigation into a Christmas party at No10 on December 18, which took place as millions of people faced lockdown.
The Prime Minister had insisted Covid rules were followed at the secret bash, but after footage of a mock press conference in which No10 staff joked about “definitely” no social distancing at a “cheese and wine” party leaked, he has asked civil service chief Simon Case to investigate.
A total of 4,321 fines were for gatherings that breached Tier 3 rules.
This banned anyone from socialising indoors with people they did not live with, or were in a support bubble with. Government guidance also specifically prohibited Christmas parties.
Tier 3 rules applied to the whole of London when the Number 10 Christmas party took place last December and other parts of the country for some of October.
Lib Dem spokesman for home affairs, Alistair Carmichael MP, said: “These figures expose the rank hypocrisy at the heart of Downing Street.
Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
“Ordinary people faced fines for holding parties that broke lockdown rules last December, while Boris Johnson and his Number 10 colleagues seem to have got off scot free.
“It shows again that for the Conservatives, it’s one rule for you, no rules for them.
“Boris Johnson must apologise to the British people and explain why he seems to think he is above the law.
“The current game of smoke and mirrors from Number 10 isn’t good enough. The public deserve to know exactly what happened at last year’s Christmas party, whether any rules were broken and if so what the punishment will be.”
Following the leaked video emerging, which came after Daily Mirror reports of the event, Allegra S
The Met Police has faced a flurry of calls to probe the alleged lockdown breaches at Downing Street in recent days.
A spokesman said on Wednesday night that it had reviewed the leaked footage and information passed to the force.
They said there was an “absence of evidence” and that the force does not investigate “retrospective breaches” of regulations.
The spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has received a significant amount of correspondence relating to allegations reported in the media that the Health Protection ( Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations were breached at gatherings at No. 10 Downing Street in November and December 2020,” a statement said.
“All this correspondence has been considered by detectives in detail, as well as footage published by ITV News.
“The correspondence and footage does not provide evidence of a breach of the Health Protection Regulations, but restates allegations made in the media.
“Based on the absence of evidence and in line with our policy not to investigate retrospective breaches of such Regulations, the Met will not commence an investigation at this time.
“The Met has had discussions with the cabinet office in relation to the investigation by the cabinet secretary. If any evidence is found as a result of that investigation, it will be passed to the Met for further consideration.”
The Mirror contacted the Government for comment.