Which events are being investigated under the police partygate probe?

Boris Johnson is one of those under investigation by police officers carrying out the partygate probe. Credit: PA

The first partygate fines are set to be issued, the Metropolitan Police has said, after officers viewed evidence suggesting coronavirus regulations had been broken without a reasonable excuse.

Officers are investigating at least 12 allegedly illegal events which took place on government premises during the coronavirus pandemic after top civil servant Sue Gray passed on evidence from an internal probe looking into 16 gatherings.

More than 100 people were under investigation over alleged Covid breaches and it is understood that more fines are likely to follow as Operation Hillman, as the probe is known, progresses.

Here are the events being looked into by Operation Hillman police:

  • May 20 2020: Bring Your Own Booze party

  • June 18 2020: Cabinet Office private secretary leaving do

  • June 19 2020: Boris Johnson’s 56th birthday bash

  • November 13 2020: Downing Street flat party

  • November 13 2020: Leaving party for senior aide

  • December 17 2020: Cabinet Office ‘Christmas party’

  • December 17 2020: Leaving drinks for former Covid Taskforce head

  • December 17 2020: No 10 leaving do

  • December 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party

  • January 14 2021: More Downing Street leaving drinks

  • April 16 2021: No10 leaving drinks on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral

  • April 16 2021: Separate leaving drinks which later merged with the other party on the same day

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is alleged to have been at up to six of the parties and was one of those to receive a formal legal questionnaire from the Metropolitan Police over the lockdown-breaching parties.Here's a list of the parties in order of when they are alleged to have happened:

  • April 16 2021: Two No10 parties held on eve of Prince Philip's funeral

Two Downing Street parties were said to have been held the night before the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April last year, while the country was in a period of national mourning and mass indoor social mixing was still barred, which was initially reported by The Telegraph.

These parties are being investigated by the police.

Advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events to mark the departure of James Slack, Boris Johnson’s former director of communications, and one of the PM’s personal photographers.

The two parties later merged together and had 30 people in attendance, with witnesses saying that alcohol was drunk and guests danced to music.

Credit: PA

A source, who attended the April 16 party, told ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand that descriptions of the parties are “incredibly accurate” and more than one staff member got merry enough to use Boris Johnson's son Wilf's swing.

Mr Slack admitted a leaving do - at which he gave a speech to mark his departure from No10 to become deputy editor-in-chief of The Sun newspaper - was held in his honour and apologised.

No10 later apologised to the Queen for holding the parties.

  • March 24 2021: Home Office drinks to celebrate immigration rule launch

The Home Office has admitted a “small number” of staff enjoyed a drink together while watching news coverage of an immigration policy launch during lockdown last year.

The department was responding to claims that some of its press and events team “mingled” and drank Prosecco in their office while Covid restrictions were in force on March 24 2021.

The Big Issue reported that around a dozen staff members gathered to celebrate an announcement on immigration rules.

At the time, the country was still under strict coronavirus rules – with indoor mixing between households banned. The Big Issue said there was no suggestion the home secretary was present or aware of the drinks.

Home Secretary Priti Patel

It said a source described the refreshments as “four bottles of Prosecco” and crisps, with people “nominally at desks”. The source reportedly added: “Mingling is a fair description – water cooler stuff.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “In line with the guidance at the time, some members of staff came into the office to launch a major immigration policy.

“A small number had a drink whilst watching the broadcast coverage of their work on 6pm news bulletins before returning to work or going home.”

This party was not referenced in the Sue Gray report.

  • 14 January 2021: Downing Street gathering to mark the departure of two private secretaries

One of the new parties discovered by Sue Gray, which happened during the peak of the pandemic in the UK with the rest of the country in strict lockdown.

Not much else is known about this gathering and it is currently being investigated by the police.

Some 1,225 people died from Covid that day, the 8th highest of the pandemic.

  • December 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party

The gathering in No 10 Downing Street ahead of the Christmas break forced Mr Johnson to apologise and is now being investigated by the police.The PM apologised for the video, obtained by ITV News, of senior Downing Street staff laughing in the days after the December 18 party is alleged to have happened.

An investigation was ordered by Boris Johnson and his former press secretary resigned over the video.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case was tasked by the PM with heading up the No 10 party inquiry, but soon stepped down following accusations that his department's office held its own gathering.

In the video staff can be heard laughing and making references to “cheese and wine”, while Mr Johnson’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton remarked there was “definitely no social distancing.”

Watch the leaked video, obtained by ITV News, showing senior Downing Street staff joking about the December 18 party - days after it's alleged to have taken place

The recording is of a rehearsal on December 22 for Downing Street's proposed daily TV media briefings, which Ms Stratton was set to front before they were later abandoned.

  • December 17 2020: Cabinet Office "Christmas Party" and two leaving parties

There are three gatherings on December 17 that have been reported in the Gray report, one of which has not been reported by the media before.

The Cabinet Office confirmed a "virtual quiz" took place in Cabinet Secretary Simon Case's department on December 17.

A source confirmed to ITV News that six people who were in the office that day took part in person, in a socially distanced manner, while most attendees dialled in remotely from home.

However, the source said Mr Case did not actively take part but acknowledged staff in the room. The source added he knew the gathering was happening as he had to walk past the group in order to get to his private office.

The Cabinet Office said in a statement that a "small number of people who had been working in the office throughout the pandemic and on duty that day, took part from their desks".

“This lasted for an hour and drinks and snacks were bought by those attending. He also spoke briefly to staff in the office before leaving," it added.

According to Guido Fawkes, a second event in Mr Case's department saw staff drinking together in the office before heading out elsewhere in December.

Following the accusations, Mr Case stepped down as head of the inquiry into the alleged Downing Street parties and was replaced by Ms Gray.

A second party held for a leaving colleague also took place in the Cabinet Office on that same evening during the December 2020 Christmas lockdown, an official has admitted.

The event was a leaving do for Kate Josephs, who until then had been responsible for drawing up Covid restrictions as boss of the Cabinet Office's Covid Taskforce.

Ms Josephs, who is now CEO of Sheffield City Council, confirmed the party took place on Twitter and said she is "truly sorry".

The Gray report notes there was a third event held in No 10 Downing Street on the same day to mark the leaving of a different colleague, but not much else is known about it.

All three are being investigated by the police.

  • December 16 2020: Department for Transport Christmas party

The Department for Transport confirmed a report from the Daily Mirror in which it was said that senior civil servants were "boozing and dancing" in the building on December 16, 2020.

The department apologised for staff holding the Christmas gathering during last year's lockdown, saying it was "inappropriate" and an "error of judgment".

A spokesperson for Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he had "absolutely no idea" about the event.

This event was not mentioned in the Gray report.

  • December 15 2020: Number 10 Christmas quiz

The prime minister has been accused of breaking Covid rules after a picture emerged of him allegedly hosting a quiz via video link at Number 10.

The Mirror reported the image is from December 15 2020 and claims it shows Boris Johnson flanked by two members of his top team - one draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat - as he hosts a Christmas quiz in No 10.

Anger has been growing against Mr Johnson's party as allegations of further gatherings emerge

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "This was a virtual quiz. Downing Street staff were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks.

"The Prime Minister briefly took part virtually in a quiz to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year."

The quiz is not being investigated by the police.

  • December 14 2020: Shaun Bailey mayoral campaign party

A party was confirmed to have been held at the Tory Party's campaign headquarters, organised by Shaun Bailey’s mayoral campaign on December 14.

This falls under the remit of the Conservative Party, rather than the government event and won't be included in the Cabinet Secretary's investigation.

According to the Times, the “raucous” party took place and was attended by No 10 aides and featured dancing and wine-drinking into the early hours.

Mr Bailey apologised “unreservedly” for attending and quit his role chairing the London Assembly’s police and crime committee after the Daily Mirror published a picture showing him at the gathering.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said "formal disciplinary action was taken against" four organisers.

The Metropolitan Police said officers will be making contact with two people who attended “in relation to alleged breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations”.

This party was not mentioned in the Gray report.

  • December 10 2020: Department for Education party

Former education secretary Gavin Williamson threw a gathering for his department on December 10, while London was in Tier 2 which banned social mixing between households.

The Department for Education did not deny Covid rules had been broken and told The Mirror "it would have been better" not to have had the event.

Current education secretary Nadhim Zahawi told ITV's Peston he was sorry staff had "gathered together" but denied it was a party, saying there was "no outside catering or outside people coming into the building".

This party is not being investigated by the police.

  • November 27 2020: Staff leaving do

It has been confirmed the PM did not attend the December 18 party but there are calls for an investigation into a leaving do on November 27 which he allegedly gave a speech at - a time when England's lockdown was in place.

Sources have told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston the PM "ducked in" to an impromptu get together when Cleo Watson left her job as an important aide.

This party is not being investigated by the police.

  • November 25 2020: Treasury drinks

The Times reported that two dozen Treasury officials held a "drinks party" in their office to celebrate the autumn spending review.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was not at the event, the paper said, adding that it understood he was not aware of it at the time.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "A number of HMT staff came into the office to work on the Spending Review 2020. We have been made aware that a small number of staff had impromptu drinks around their desks after the event. “The Treasury did not organise an in-person departmental party last Christmas.”

This party was not mentioned in the Gray report.

  • November 13 2020: Boris Johnson's "flat party" and a leaving party

In the fallout from the leaked Downing Street video, the prime minister's former top aide Dominic Cummings (himself involved in a Covid rules scandal) accused Number 10 of hosting a party on Friday, November 13 - the night he gave up his government role.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds outside No.10 Downing Street. Credit: PA

The former chief advisor said the investigation of the December 18 gathering should also look into "the flat party on Fri 13 Nov, the other flat parties, and the flat's 'bubble' policy".

The latter may be in reference to allegations Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie broke lockdown rules to have a friend over on Christmas Day.

A spokesperson for Mrs Johnson has called Mr Cummings' claim “total nonsense”.

The Gray report says this party happened in the Downing Street flat as well as a second party held in No 10 to mark the departure of another colleague.

These are both being investigated by the police.

  • 19 June 2020, Boris Johnson birthday party

ITV News reported that the prime minister had a birthday party during the first lockdown in 2020 despite the rules forbidding social gatherings indoors at the time, which has now been confirmed by the Gray report.

It's alleged that the prime minister's wife, Carrie Johnson, helped organise a surprise get-together for him on the afternoon of 19 June just after 2pm. ITV News understands that among the guests was the interior designer, Lulu Lytle - who was not a member of No 10 staff.

ITV News also understands that on the evening of 19 June 2020, family friends were hosted upstairs in the prime minister’s residence in an apparent further breach of the rules. Number 10 have denied this, claiming the prime minister only hosted a small number of family members outside.

Approached for comment about the allegations, Number 10 responded saying: “A group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the Prime Minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than ten minutes.”

  • June 18 2020: Cabinet office party to mark the departure of a private secretary

This is another party that Ms Gray discovered and had not been previously reported in the media.

The Gray report claims it was held in 70 Whitehall and is currently being investigated by the police.

  • May 20 2020: PM and wife join BYOB No 10 garden party

The prime minister and his wife Carrie were among 40 members of staff who gathered in the No 10 garden that evening "to make the most of the lovely weather", enjoying picnic food and drinking.

The PM's Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds sent an email - shared exclusively with ITV News - to more than a hundred Downing Street employees inviting them to the party on May 20, 2020.

At the time, the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person from another household outdoors. They could only do so in a public place while remaining two metres apart.

This email was sent by the prime minister's personal private secretary, inviting more 100 staff members for drinks in the Number 10 garden. Credit: ITV News

Mr Reynolds wrote to staff: "After what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.

"Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!"

Less than an hour before the drinks, then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had reminded the rest of England at the daily No 10 press conference that they must only meet in pairs outdoors.

Downing Street told ITV News they would not comment on the story due to the Sue Gray inquiry. 

The May 20 party was first alluded to in a blog by the PM's former advisor Dominic Cummings.

This party is being investigated by the police.

  • May 15 2020: PM "joined" Number 10 garden pizza party

Boris Johnson attended a party with staff in the Downing Street garden during the first national lockdown in May 2020, according to The Guardian and The Independent.

The outlets reported that the PM was present for 15 minutes at the gathering following a Covid press conference on May 15, at which then Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the British public to stay at home “as much as is possible”.

Mr Hancock stressed the rules in force meant “you can meet one other person from outside your household in an outdoor, public place” as long as you kept two metres apart.

But sources alleged that some 20 staff members drank wine and spirits and ate pizza following the press conference, with Mr Johnson said to have told one aide that they deserved a drink for “beating back” coronavirus.

Some aides reportedly carried on drinking into the evening, although there was no suggestion Mr Johnson or Mr Hancock had any alcohol or stayed late.

In response to the claims, Downing Street said the prime minister held a "series of meetings throughout the afternoon" and “briefly” met Mr Hancock and his team in the garden, which was “regularly” used for work meetings during the summer months.

“A small number of staff required to be in work remained in the Downing Street garden for part of the afternoon and evening,” added a No 10 spokesman.

This party is not being investigated by the police.