Downing Street fines: How many Downing Street parties there were and who attended amid new Partygate fines
Police have told Boris Johnson he faces no further action over lockdown breaches, Downing Street said, after the Metropolitan Police concluded its partygate investigation with a total of 126 fixed-penalty notices.
Scotland Yard said on Thursday May 19th that it had issued fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) for events in Downing Street and across Whitehall spanning eight separate days, with 28 people receiving between two and five fines.
On March 21st, the force said more than 100 questionnaires had been sent out, asking the recipients about their participation in the alleged gatherings.
On April 12th, the Metropolitan Police announced that both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will pay fines for their part in the Partygate scandals, sparking fresh calls for the Prime Minister to resign.
Following a flurry of reveals that parties and ‘work events’ took place in Downing Street while the country was supposed to be on lockdown, including two before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral that prompted apologies to the Queen, it can be hard to keep track of all that apparently went on behind Number 10’s front door during the pandemic.
The regular social gatherings were reported to be particularly popular among staff between autumn 2020 and spring 2020 when staff were “fatigued” with tough Covid restrictions that banned socialising.
List of Downing Street parties
Here is a list of alleged gatherings made public so far that took place at Downing Street and other Government offices, which in several cases have been admitted to, including the 12 alleged gatherings being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
May 20th, 2020: BYOB garden party
The revelation came in an email, leaked to ITV, from Mr Reynolds to more than 100 Downing Street employees inviting them to “bring your own booze” for an evening gathering.
The Prime Minister admitted attending the gathering, but insisted he believed it was a work event which could “technically” have been within the rules.
June 18 2020: Cabinet Office leaving do
Senior civil servant Sue Gray’s interim report said a gathering in the 70 Whitehall building was held to mark the departure of a No 10 private secretary.
The event had not previously been disclosed but The Telegraph said the official in question is former home affairs policy adviser Hannah Young, who left Downing Street to take up the role of deputy consul general in New York.
The newspaper said it understood about 20 people attended, with alcohol consumed.
June 19th, 2020: Boris Johnson’s 56th birthday party
A Downing Street spokesperson admitted staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room after a meeting, following a report from ITV News which suggested up to 30 people attended.
The broadcaster suggested the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, had organised the surprise get-together.
ITV News also reported that later the same evening, family and friends were hosted upstairs to further celebrate the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday in his official residence.
No 10 said: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”
November 13th, 2020: Leaving party for senior aide
According to reports at the time, Mr Johnson gave a leaving speech for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications and a close ally of Mr Cummings.
November 13th, 2020: Johnsons’ flat party
There are allegations that Carrie Johnson hosted parties in their flat, with one such event said to have taken place on November 13, the night Mr Cummings departed No 10.
A spokesman for Mrs Johnson has called the claim “total nonsense”.
But reports have since suggested that the Prime Minister was seen heading up to the flat on the night in question, with the Mail On Sunday stating that Abba songs, including The Winner Takes It All, were heard coming from the residence.
Dominic Cummings, former de facto chief-of-staff at No 10, has alleged there are photographs of parties held at the flat during lockdown and said he has spoken to people who heard music coming from the Johnsons’ accommodation on the night he left Downing Street.
November 25th, 2020: Treasury drinks
A Treasury spokesman told The Times that a number of staff had gone into the office to work on the Spending Review.
He said: “We have been made aware that a small number of those staff had impromptu drinks around their desks after the event.”
November 27th, 2020: Second staff leaving do
The Mirror reported that the Prime Minister gave a farewell speech to an aide at the end of November while the lockdown in England was still in place.
Other reports have said the leaving do was for Cleo Watson, a senior Downing Street aide and ally of Mr Cummings.
December 10th, 2020: Department for Education party
The DfE confirmed a social event had happened after The Mirror reported that former education secretary Gavin Williamson threw a party and delivered a short speech at an event organised at his department’s Whitehall headquarters.
A spokesman acknowledged that “it would have been better not to have gathered in this way at that particular time”.
December 11th, 2020: Wine fridge delivered to Downing Street for staff’s ‘wine-time Fridays’
A fridge with the capacity for 34 wine bottles was delivered through the back door of No 10.
According to sources cited by The Mirror, the fridge became necessary for staff’s “wine-time Fridays” which were held throughout lockdown, with the Prime Minister allegedly encouraging the parties to help aides “let off steam” and attending a “handful” of these gatherings himself.
December 14th, 2020: Party featuring Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey and staff
“It was a serious error of judgement at a time when Londoners were making immense sacrifices to keep us all safe and I regret it wholeheartedly,” Shaun Bailey has since tweeted.
December 16th, 2020: Department for Transport party
A DfT spokesman said: “Fewer than a dozen staff who were working in the office had a low-key, socially distanced gathering in the large open-plan office after work on December 16, where food and drink was consumed.
“We recognise this was inappropriate and apologise for the error of judgment.”
December 17th, 2020: Cabinet Office “Christmas party”
A number of outlets reported that a gathering was held in the Cabinet Office on December 17.
The Times reported that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case attended the party in room 103 of the Cabinet Office, that it had been organised by a private secretary in Mr Case’s team, and that it was included in digital calendars as “Christmas party!” and online quiz.
The Cabinet Office said Mr Case played no part in the event “but walked through the team’s office on the way to his own”.
December 17th, 2020: Leaving drinks for former Covid Taskforce head
The former director-general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce, Kate Josephs, said she was “truly sorry” over an evening gathering in the Cabinet Office for her leaving drinks during coronavirus restrictions days before Christmas in 2020.
December 17 2020: No 10 leaving do
A leaving do was held for a departing Downing Street official.
The Telegraph reported that the staff member in question was Captain Steve Higham, then one of Mr Johnson’s private secretaries, who advised on defence and national security issues.
The Mirror, which first reported the event before the police investigation began, said Mr Johnson was only there “for a few minutes”.
Capt Higham became Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in July 2021.
December 18th, 2020: Christmas party at Downing Street
The claim which kicked off the rule-breaking allegations is that a party was held for Downing Street staff on December 18.
Officials and advisers reportedly made speeches, enjoyed a cheese board, drank together and exchanged Secret Santa gifts, although the Prime Minister is not thought to have attended.
Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton, quit after being filmed joking about it with fellow aides at a mock press conference.
January 14 2021: More Downing Street leaving drinks
A gathering was held in No 10 to mark the departure of two private secretaries.
Reports have suggested the Prime Minister attended the leaving event, which was for a senior civil servant in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, according to The Telegraph.
The other official’s identity is so far unknown.
April 16th, 2021: Drinks and dancing the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral
The Telegraph reported that advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events on the Friday night.
They were to mark the departure of James Slack, Mr Johnson’s former director of communications, and one of the Prime Minister’s personal photographers.
The Telegraph quoted a No 10 spokesman as saying Mr Johnson was not in Downing Street that day and is said to have been at Chequers.
The newspaper reported accounts from witnesses who said alcohol was drunk and guests danced to music, adding that it had been told that around 30 people attended both events combined.
Other events possibly subject to police investigation
December 15 2020: Online Christmas quiz in No 10
The Prime Minister appeared on contestants’ screens at the quiz but insisted he broke no rules.
An image published by the Sunday Mirror showed Mr Johnson flanked by colleagues, one draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat, in No 10.
Downing Street admitted Mr Johnson “briefly” attended the quiz after the photographic evidence emerged but insisted it was a virtual event.
Police initially said they did not intend to investigate the quiz, during which the Prime Minister appeared on contestants’ screens.
However they later said they would review the decision after a photograph emerged of Mr Johnson alongside an open bottle of sparkling wine.
Additional reporting by PA