Boris Johnson is braced to receive a further “partygate” fine after it emerged that Scotland Yard had begun issuing sanctions to attendees of a Downing Street “bring your own booze” event.
The Prime Minister has already admitted that he was at the gathering which took place in the garden of Number 10 on 20 May 2020, for around 25 minutes, but has said he “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.
On Friday, ITV news reported that some of those who had been at the party – including Number 10 officials – had received emails telling them they were to be fined.
The threat comes as Mr Johnson is gearing up for a new Brexit fight in an attempt to reset his premiership following the fallout from his first “partygate” fine. These plans may be overshadowed by any further police sanction.
The Prime Minister is set to announce a new bill in the Queen’s Speech on May 10 which will hand ministers powers to overrule parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has governed customs arrangements between Great Britain and the province since Brexit.
Government sources on Friday said that while the “stated objective” of the protocol was to protect the Good Friday Agreement, it is “self-evident for all to see that it is doing precisely the opposite” and has created political tensions in Northern Ireland.
On Friday, the Prime Minister did not rule out the prospect of new Brexit legislation, telling a press conference in New Delhi that officials “have to fix” the situation in Northern Ireland with “some very simple and reasonable steps”.
“We have talked repeatedly to our friends and partners in the EU [and] we will continue to talk to them,” he said.
“But as I have said many times now, we don’t rule out taking further steps if that is necessary and that’s the position.”
Last week, Mr Johnson received a £50 fixed penalty notice (FPN) after attending a small gathering to mark his 56th birthday in June 2020.
But police are looking into five further events that the Prime Minister allegedly attended, including the “bring your own booze” garden party, and it is widely expected he will receive further fines before the investigation is complete.