Boris Johnson, Carrie Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s £50 Partygate ends may not feel like much, but there is a world where the PM’s penalties could top £10,000. We explain how with the help of barrister Adam Wagner
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Boris Johnson will face the music in Parliament tomorrow after paying a £50 police fine over Partygate.
The Prime Minister was the first ever handed a fixed penalty notice for breaking the law, over a Downing Street lockdown birthday party he attended for nine minutes in June 2020.
He is also accused of misleading Parliament after telling MPs “all guidance was followed completely” in No10.
The PM claims he didn’t know he was breaking the law and refuses to resign, urging MPs to move on from the scandal.
But the Met Police are still investigating five other gatherings he was thought to be at.
That means in the worst case scenario he could be slapped with £10,000 in cumulative ends.
Here’s an explanation of what Boris Johnson has been fined and how his penalties could tot up in the future.
How much was Boris Johnson fined?
The Prime Minister was handed a £100 fixed penalty notice for attending the June 2020 birthday party.
Because he agreed to pay the penalty within 14 days, the amount he had to actually pay was halved to £50.
The same is true of his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak who were found over the same event.
Some people might be wondering why he got a £100 fine while other Brits got a £200 fine.
This is because the amount of fine for a first lockdown offense changed as England’s laws evolved.
It was £60 at first, then it was £100 from May 2020, then £200 from September 2020.
You can only be fined according to what the law was at the time you committed a criminal offence.
How much will Boris Johnson be fined in the future?
Firstly, it depends how many ends – if any – he gets from the police. Secondly, it might depend on the order he gets them.
People who commit multiple lockdown offenses see their ends “double” each time – to £400, £800 and so on.
But the calculation’s not simple because Boris Johnson is accused of offenses under different periods of law.
Of the five remaining parties police are probing that he was thought to be at, one was before September 2020 and four were after that date.
For the one party before September 2020, the fine would be £200 for a second offence, £400 for a third, £800 for a fourth, £1,600 for a fifth, and £3,200 for a sixth.
For the four parties after September 2020, the fine would be £400 for a second offence, £800 for a third, £1,600 for a fourth, £3,200 for a fifth, and £6,400 for a sixth.
So for example, he could be fined £400 for a second offense in November; but then another £400 for a third offense in May; then it ramps up to £1,600 for a fourth offense in December.
Barrister Adam Wagner, who has analyzed Covid laws, agreed that it is possible. He added: “It’s all a bit unprecedented because the police haven’t really done this before – given out multiple retrospective fixed penalty notices.”
Either way, if he gets six fines, the last one has a good chance of being £6,400. Mr Wagner said that he could bring the PM’s total over £10,000-though of course, if he paid them within 14 days the actual amount would be half that.
Could he have been given a £10,000 fine for organizing a gathering?
In August 2020 the government introduced £10,000 fines for organizing illegal gatherings of more than 30 people.
Some people want Boris Johnson to get this fine after reports he “led” to November 2020 leaving do for aide Lee Cain.
But barrister Adam Wagner told the Mirror: “I think there’s zero prospect of that.”
The £10,000 fines did not apply to events organized by a “business, a public body or a political body”.
Mr Wagner added: “They only applied to private residences or public places – they don’t apply to office buildings.”
He could however get a £10k fine if he was shown to have organized a November 2020 gathering in the Downing Street flat – and if it had more than 30 people attending.