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British police to issue 20 initial fines over Downing Street lockdown parties

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A handout photograph taken and released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) in the House of Commons, in London, on March 23, 2022.

British police are set to issue 20 initial fines to government officials close to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who stands accused of breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules in gatherings at the Downing Street over the past two years.

London's Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday it would be issuing 20 fines, but it will not be saying who is fined or which events the fixed penalty notices relate to.

"We will today initially begin to refer 20 fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of COVID-19 regulations," the Met said in a statement.

Police did not rule out further action, because there was still a "significant amount" of evidence to be assessed.

The prime minister’s spokesman, however, said that Johnson was not facing a fine.

"You will hear from the prime minister at the conclusion of the Met's investigation," said Johnson’s spokesman. "The PM's apology for how this was handled is a matter of record."

The London force have been investigating 12 events that may have breached COVID-19  lockdown rules, including at least three attended by the prime minister, at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office in 2020 and 2021.

Reports of the gatherings during the lockdowns prompted public anger as well as calls for the prime minister’s resignation. He had previously insisted that "guidelines were followed at all times."

The prime minister had later apologized for attending a party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, but insisted that he believed it was a work event.

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