By Claire Bullivant.

Do the Met realise Covid regulations never applied to Downing Street according to a 1984 law?

The Prime Minister’s partygate nightmare may finally be over after police announced today Downing Street would face no further fines with the investigation now officially being closed.

But it comes after a total of 126 fines were issued, with some Downing Street staff receiving more than one fixed penalty notice.

However, a growing number of people are now calling on the Met Police to give Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Downing Street employees their fines back.

As according to section 73 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, Covid regulations never applied to Crown Land (which includes No. 10).

In the eighties lawmakers decided that it would be better to allow the government to function during any future national pandemic without having to worry about being caught up in quarantine regulations.

Steven Barrett a leading barrister at Radcliffe Chambers who read law at Oxford and taught law at Cambridge says:

“The thinking was that by making the government effectively exempt in law, the government could continue to function.”

Barrister Barrett adds in addition to the 1984 Act, there were also specific regulations that applied at the time of the alleged ‘partygate’: the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020.

The barrister says according to these rules, gatherings were allowed in all public buildings, or parts of them ‘operated by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body.’

Questions are still being raised why a QC named Daniel Stilitz who was the independent legal advisor to Sue Gray on the legalities of ‘partygate’ failed to bring this important law into light?

Last month it was revealed Mr Stilitz had previously shared comments on social media platform Twitter accusing the Conservative party of “serving up bile,” the Prime Minister of “fake news” and urging people to sign up to the Labour Party.

The QC even retweeted a comment calling Boris Johnson “our reckless dangerous PM.” 

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said:

“Stilitz was clearly a totally inappropriate appointment and it risks what should have been the ‘independent and impartial’ Sue Gray report being considered tainted before its release to the public.”

Mr Stilitz’s tweets, which he has now deleted, even criticised the Prime Minister for choices he made in lockdown even when they were lawful.

Now I’m no lawyer but surely Stilitz has shown either direct bias against the PM or apparent bias against him?

Whatever your view on the Sue Gray report, surely it could never have stood as an official report – the entire process was invalid.

So when are the Met Police going to take a look at the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and give the Prime Minister, Chancellor and fined Downing Street staff not only an apology but also their money back?

Photo by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street.
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Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.


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