Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief aide, was never contacted by police seeking information about alleged lockdown-breaching parties inside Downing Street during his time working there, he has said.
In a Twitter exchange with a journalist, asked if he was one of the No 10 staffers to receive a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) from the Metropolitan police over illicit social events, Cummings replied: “No, didn’t even send a questionnaire or email asking for evidence.”
The police issued 126 fines to 83 people, including one to Johnson, in an investigation which ended last week.
Because the offences fell under the system of FPNs, they were dealt with entirely by police, who investigated alleged breaches and issued fines, which could be challenged in court, although none were in this case. Those involved were not formally interviewed but sent written questionnaires.
Cummings was Johnson’s most senior adviser until he was sacked in November 2020, and is mentioned six times in the report into the gatherings, published on Wednesday by the senior civil servant Sue Gray.
The report identifies Cummings as present at two events considered in the report, one of which is a gathering in the Downing Street garden on 15 May 2020, where Cummings was pictured sitting with Johnson alongside a table with wine bottles and a cheese platter. Gray described this event as a continuation of work meetings, and it was not investigated by police.
However, Cummings was also identified by Gray as attending at least part of an event on 18 June 2020 for which others were fined, a leaving event in the Cabinet Office for a No 10 private secretary. This continued until after 3am, involving a karaoke machine and what Gray called “excessive alcohol consumption” in which someone was sick and “a minor altercation between two other individuals”.
Cummings is also cited by Gray as having raised written concerns about a “bring your own booze” gathering in the No 10 garden on 20 May 2020, another event for which people were fined.
Gray said in her report she had “not found any documentary evidence” of Cummings’ worries. But in another tweet, he said this was a misunderstanding by Gray, and that while he and another official, the then communications chief Lee Cain, both raised concerns, only Cain did so in writing.