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London’s Metropolitan Police have imposed fines on 24 attendees of a Covid lockdown-breaching party at Conservative party headquarters following the reopening of an investigation into the 2020 “Partygate” event.

The number of penalties imposed suggests that most people who attended the party in December 2020 have been fined. Twenty-three people posed for a photograph at the event — including Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for the 2021 London mayoral election who has since received a peerage.

The imposition of the fines follows the force’s reopening of its investigation in July after the publication of video that showed dancing at the event and remarks suggesting attendees knew it was in breach of the rules in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The latest penalties come on top of 126 fines imposed on politicians and staff including Boris Johnson, then prime minister, and Rishi Sunak, then chancellor now prime minister, for lockdown breaches at events in Downing Street and elsewhere in Whitehall that became known as Partygate.

An initial investigation into the Bailey campaign party, using only still pictures, decided against imposing penalties.

The Met said it had reopened the investigation after “new evidence” became available.

“Having assessed that new evidence, the Met has made 24 referrals for fixed penalty notices . . . for breaches of Covid-19 regulations,” it said.

The Met gave no details about who would face fines, beyond the numbers involved.

A Christmas party at Conservative party headquarters
Attendees of a Christmas party at Conservative party headquarters during Covid lockdown included Shaun Bailey, 2021 candidate for mayor of London, standing in centre wearing a white shirt © Mirrorpix

When asked about the fines, the Conservative party campaign headquarters (CCHQ) said that senior staff “became aware” of an “unauthorised social gathering” in the basement of the building at Matthew Parker Street organised by the Bailey campaign on the evening in question.

“Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Bailey campaign,” it said.

It did not respond to a question about whether Bailey himself had been fined.

The Met said that it had yet to complete a second investigation that it had reopened, into a birthday party at the House of Commons on December 8 2020 for Baroness Anne Jenkin, wife of Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin.

That party was contentious with Johnson’s supporters because of suggestions that Sir Bernard briefly attended. Jenkin chaired the House of Commons privileges committee that found Johnson committed multiple contempts of parliament when he insisted he knew nothing about the lockdown-breaching parties.

Jenkin has not denied being in the room where the party took place. But an ally has insisted it was a work event and he attended only briefly to pick up his wife.

“The second investigation related to a gathering in parliament at an event on 8 December 2020 continues,” the Met said.

Bailey, whose campaign was unsuccessful, was nominated for a peerage in Johnson’s controversial resignation honours list. There had been calls for his elevation to the House of Lords to be delayed pending the outcome of the renewed investigation. However, he was introduced to the upper house as Baron Bailey of Paddington on July 18, two weeks after the police reopened their probe.

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