First £50 fines handed out by Met Police arrive for Whitehall party lockdown offences

The fines, worth £50, have been sent to individuals by email. Credit: PA

The first fines issued by police investigating Whitehall parties held during lockdown have reportedly started arriving.

The £50 fines are understood to have been delivered by email and issued to officials.

The fixed penalty notices are thought to relate to one of the earliest events under investigation – a leaving party in the Cabinet Office on June 18 2020 to mark the departure of a private secretary.

This was earlier confirmed by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston.

The leaving do, held in 70 Whitehall, was said to be held for Hannah Young, a former home affairs policy adviser who was taking up the post of deputy consul general in New York.

There were reported to be about 20 people present and that alcohol was consumed - though this was not one of the events under investigation that Boris Johnson attended.

The Met Police is investigating at least 12 allegedly illegal gatherings held on government premises during the pandemic.

The force announced this week that the first 20 fines relating to the partygate investigation are set to be issued, indicating officers believe Covid rules were broken - but the PM is refusing to accept that's the case.

Despite mounting pressure to do so, the Met police refused to say on Thursday whether the FPNs, which were referred to the ACRO Criminal Records Office to be doled out, had formally been issued.

It is not believed the prime minister is among those to receive a fine, though it is understood that Mr Johnson attended at least six of the gatherings police are investigating.

Earlier, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse became the latest member of the government to suggest the issuing of FPNs was evidence the police believed the law had been broken.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan have also accepted that coronavirus rules had been breached after the first batch of fines was ordered.

No 10 has so far only promised to confirm if Mr Johnson or Cabinet Secretary Simon Case are given a fixed-penalty notice.

Labour leader and former director of public prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer said the fines meant “we now know there was widespread criminality”.

For expert analysis and insight on the biggest stories listen to our podcast to find out What You Need To Know