PM would probably reveal if he receives partygate fine, says policing minister

Kit Malthouse said a fixed penalty notice was an acknowledgment that police believed the law had been broken.

01 April 2022

A close ally of the Prime Minister has indicated that Boris Johnson is likely to declare if he is issued with a fine as part of a police investigation into partygate allegations.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse also appeared to back up the assessment of two Cabinet ministers in stating that the issuing of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) this week by investigating officers was a declaration of “reasonable belief” that the law had been broken in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson has so far dodged the question, with No 10 refusing to be drawn into the discussion until the investigation has finished.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Malthouse said he acknowledged that, while police do not routinely name those who are issued with fines, the situation was “different” for politicians.

“If I got a Fixed Penalty Notice, I would tell you,” he told LBC.

The minister was asked whether, as someone who had known the Prime Minister for two decades and who previously served as one of his deputy mayors in London, Mr Johnson was likely to confirm if he receives a fine.

Mr Malthouse replied: “It is a hypothetical question, but I think if he did, he probably would, yes.”

The Metropolitan Police refused to say on Thursday whether the fixed penalty notices, which were referred to the ACRO Criminal Records Office to be doled out, had formally been issued.

However, it is not believed the Prime Minister is among those to receive a fine.

Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse
Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse (James Manning/PA)

During his appearance in front of senior MPs at the Liaison Committee on Wednesday, the PM said he was “sure you would know” if he had been fined.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, to be named if she receives an FPN in relation to the probe into claims of lockdown parties in Downing Street.

Sir Keir told Sky News he agreed with the “general argument” that families should not be dragged into politics, but added: “There’s a huge difference between the situation of the wife of the Prime Minister breaking the rules made by the Prime Minister and any other situation.”

Mr Malthouse, when asked if he agreed that Mrs Johnson should publicly declare any possible punishment, said that was a matter for her.

The FPNs being issued by the Met relate to investigations into around a dozen events in Downing Street and Whitehall – including one in the Prime Minister’s flat – while England was subject to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Although Mr Johnson was not expected to be among the first group to be hit with fines, the Met have indicated they expect to issue more fixed penalty notices as their inquiry continues.

The first batch of fines in connection with the police partygate investigation were expected to be issued this week
The first batch of fines in connection with the police No 10 partygate investigation were expected to be issued this week (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Around 20 people were expected to be issued in the first batch of FPNs.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and International Trade Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan both accepted this week that coronavirus rules had been breached in Downing Street, following the issuing of fines.

Mr Malthouse, a Minister of State in the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, said it was fair to say an FPN signalled that police believed a law had been broken.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “A fixed penalty notice means police have a reasonable belief that you’ve broken the law – you still have a right to challenge it if you want.

“Having said that, the police practice is not routinely to release the names of those who receive fixed penalties, and I don’t see why that rule should be waived for those people who may or may not be in receipt of it in Downing Street.”

Mr Malthouse said he had not personally received a fine in relation to the police probe.

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