Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak fined over Downing Street lockdown parties but questions remain over Sheffield Council chief executive

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be fined over Downing Street lockdown parties.

Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:53 pm

The news came as the Metropolitan Police said at least 30 more fixed penalty notices will be issued by the ACRO Criminal Records Office.

Police investigating allegations of lockdown parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall have now made more than 50 referrals for fines.

This is up from the 20 referrals for fixed penalty notices the force said had been made at the end of March.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be fined over Downing Street lockdown parties

Scotland Yard said it was “making every effort to progress this investigation at speed”, with the possibility of more fines to come as part of Operation Hillman.

The identities of people issued with fines have not been disclosed by the Met and they are not obliged to tell their employer.

Questions over Kate Josephs

There were reports that some of the fines issued last month related to coronavirus law-breaking by those who attended a leaving party for Kate Josephs.

Ms Josephs was leaving her role as director general of the Cabinet Office’s Covid taskforce to start her new job as chief executive of Sheffield Council.

The Daily Telegraph reported that some of those at her farewell event have been handed fixed penalty notices.

The drinks event was held in the Cabinet Office on December 17, 2020 at a time when London was under Tier 3 restrictions, banning indoor socialising.

Ms Josephs has not commented on the report but in January apologised after news of the gathering emerged.

She has been on paid leave from her £190,000 job since mid January. Senior director Eugene Walker has been given a salary top-up to cover the CEO role in her absence.

A cross party committee of councillors was set up in the wake of the revelations about Ms Josephs.

It commissioned a report by an independent investigator and considered the findings a fortnight ago but there has been no information released since.

The council says very little information can be shared publicly. The committee meets behind closed doors and the council has not revealed who the investigator is or what their remit is.