Police today announced they are preparing to hand out an initial batch of 20 fines for Partygate – but Boris Johnson is unlikely to be among them.
Scotland Yard said it is referring penalty notices to be issued to people who attended lockdown-busting Whitehall drinks – confirming it believes the law was broken in some instances.
However, a statement made clear that the individuals will not be named, and also crucially ruled out saying which events they attended.
The force is thought to be focusing on ‘clear-cut’ cases where people are not contesting allegations.
The PM is said to have been at six of the 12 events under investigation and has received a legal questionnaire – equivalent to being interviewed under caution – but he has denied breaking rules.
The recipients of the fines – typically £100 – can decide whether to accept or contest the findings.
If they pay the fines there will be no further action, and it does not necessarily mean they will lose jobs.
No10 today repeated the pledge to reveal if Mr Johnson himself is fined, but said it had not been informed he is among the first group.
The PM’s spokesman denied that he had misled the Commons by denying that the law had been broken – and refused to be drawn on whether that was now beyond doubt, saying that he will come to Parliament when the probe is complete.
The premier had looked in serious danger of being ousted amid Tory fury at the huge political damage from the Partygate scandal and wider sleaze claims.
However, the mood has shifted dramatically since the invasion of Ukraine, with praise of Mr Johnson’s response. Some MPs have withdrawn letters of no confidence.