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As police Partygate probe closes, Boris Johnson avoids another fine

British police issued fines to 126 people in the Partygate probe that has rocked the British government for months, but have spared Prime Minister Boris Johnson another sanction as the inquiry closed.

The Metropolitan police said in a statement Thursday they had made 126 referrals for fixed penalty notices — 53 women and 73 men — for eight lockdown-busting events between May 2020 and April 2021, but that they would not reveal the identities of those involved. All of the individuals would receive one fine, they said, while 28 would receive between two and five fines.

Johnson is not among those who will receive another fine, a No. 10 spokesperson said.

Alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Johnson was asked to pay a fine at a previous stage of the investigation for attending a birthday gathering in June 2020. Both men apologized but refused to resign from office. It is believed that Johnson is the first prime minister in British history to break the law while in office.

The end of the police probe now means senior civil servant Sue Gray can release her Partygate report, which police asked her to hold back from publishing in full until their inquiry was over. The report could surface as soon as next week, British media reported.

“There is no doubt that the pandemic impacted all of us in so many ways and strong feelings and opinions have been expressed on this particular issue,” said the Metropolitan Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball. “Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could.”

The investigation, which took almost four months, involved 12 detectives examining 345 documents including photographs, door logs and emails, the Met said.

The House of Commons is also set to begin its own parliamentary inquiry into Partygate after lawmakers gave it the go-ahead during a testy parliamentary debate in April.

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