9 times people faced police action for breaking Covid rules while Downing St allegedly held Christmas parties

9 times people faced police action for breaking Covid rules while Downing St allegedly held Christmas parties

The Metropolitan police has been criticised after it said it will not be investigating allegations that Downing Street held a number of parties last November and December, while the country faced severe Covid restrictions.

The force cited an “absence of evidence” in explaining the decision after multiple reports emerged about gatherings in government buildings, and said it has a policy stopping it from delving into historical allegations of breaches of Covid regulations.

Very well then. But the public are furious that government officials may have socialised illegally while they followed rules banning indoor gatherings, and Johnson is facing pressure from across the political spectrum to explain just what happened during the festive period, as daily allegations prove this story isn’t going anywhere.

Meanwhile, the police intervened in numerous Covid breaches around the same time, some of which appear rather less egregious than a party. Here are nine times people were fined for Covid breaches during the alleged timeline of the Downing Street fiestas.

1. Guests at Nottingham house party receive £200 fines

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After up to 150 guests attended a house party in Nottingham in December 2020, several guests were fined £200, the BBC reported at the time.

Nottingham was under tier three restrictions, prohibiting different households mixing indoors.

Three days after the story was reported, then education secretary Gavin Williamson had “drinks and canapes” in the department for education cafe while London was in tier two and therefore also not allowed to mix with other households.

2. Three woman cough up £1,1000 each for attending parties on the same day as the Downing St bash

Three women have been handed retrospective fines of £1,100 each for attending separate house parties on 18 December – the same day as the alleged Downing Street party.

The Evening Standard reports that Ebru Sen, 26, and Ami Goto, 23, were prosecuted last week for breaching rules by attending a gathering at a flat in Holborn, when London was under tier three restrictions.

Meanwhile, Emilia Petruta-Cristea, 24, was also convicted by a magistrate and fined £1,100 for attending a gathering at her home in Wanstead.

3. Seven women fined for travelling in a limo together

The seven women were fined for breaking Covid-19 restrictions inside a limo (stock image)Getty Images/iStockphoto

A group of women travelling in a limo together (as you do) were stopped by West Midlands Police and fined £200 each on 14 November 2020, while the country was in its second national lockdown.

If you can’t remember, this was in the the bad old days, at the time people couldn’t leave their homes except for essential reasons, such as going to school and work, food shopping, attending medical appointments and exercise.

The day before their jolly, it has been alleged by Dominic Cummings that Carrie Symonds threw a flat party in Downing Street.

4. Man fined for nipping round his friend’s house for a cup of tea

A Wigan man was fined by Greater Manchester police for breaching coronavirus regulations by visiting a friend’s house for a cup of tea on 6 November 2020 during the second national lockdown.

We hope he at least had a biscuit, too.

5. Police fine London office party

\u2018The public won\u2019t blindly follow a two-tier set of rules, one for those in power and another for everyone else\u2019 Getty Images/iStockphoto

Police issued a £10,000 fine after they discovered a London office party - attended by 45 people - with “alcohol, a DJ and decks”, according to LBC.

The party took place in the City of London in early December and at the time the rozzers said that people must “stick to the rules and socially distance, even in the festive season.”

The office was not 10 Downing Street.

6. Hair salon fined for staying open during the second lockdown

A hair salon in West Yorkshire was fined £27,000 after it refused to close during the second national lockdown, despite multiple warnings.

It is alleged that two parties in Downing Street took place in the same month.

7. People flee illegal martial arts class to escape fines

Gym goers tried to flee police after they were caught taking part in an illegal martial arts class during lockdown in Cheshire in November 2020.

Cheshire Live reported that police handed out nine £200 fixed penalty notices. Meanwhile, the owner of the site, which has not been named, has not been fined as they were unaware the class had been organised.

8. Party of four dispersed by police

Police fined four people £200 each for breaking coronavirus rules by gathering at a flat in a Leicestershire town.

A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman told Leicester Mercury at the time: “We were called at 7.30pm on Monday to a report of a gathering at a property in Rutland Street in Melton.

“Four people at the address were issued with fines for contravening Covid-19 protection regulations.

“The group at the flat were dispersed.”

At least 40 people are said to have attended the alleged Downing Street party on 18 December, ten times the number of people in the Leicestershire gaffe.

9. Devon pub fined for not running premises in a Covid-safe manner.

A staff member of The Churchgate pub pours a pint for a customer in Bolton, EnglandCharlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

A pub in Barnstaple, North Devon, was issued with three fixed penalty notices totalling £3,000 after police and council enforcement officers visited it on 12 December and found that it was not being run in a Covid-safe manner by the person in control of the premises.

Staff in the pub, called Rumours, were not checking customers were part of the same household group or bubble before letting them in, and it was not serving substantial meals - as required at the time (remember Scotch eggs?).

We wonder if Williamson’s “canapes” count as a substantial meal.

These are but nine examples but undoubtedly there are more. Indy100 has contacted the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police to ascertain a full data set about fines issued to members of the public during this period.

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