The Prime Minister could be facing fines of more than £10,000 should Scotland Yard rule that Boris Johnson breached Covid restriction.
Johnson is expected to among more than 50 people in Downing Street and Whitehall who are to receive legal questionnaires from detectives.
Scotland Yard officers who are working on Operation Hillman will send the questionnaires by then of this week and will then decide if they will widen the investigations into the No.10 jamborees.
Police are now reconsidering if they will also include another incident where The Mirror reported another story of Johnson appearing in a photo with three staff members with one wearing tinsel and an open bottle of bubbly.
Human rights barrister Adam Wagner who is an expert on Covid-19 rules, said the sending out of questionnaires is “very significant because it appears that the police at least think that they’re getting towards the point where they can start issuing fixed penalty notices.”
Wagner told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “It sounds to me, although I haven’t seen the letters, that they’ve decided that relevant gatherings were potentially a breach of the regulations and now they’re asking people ‘Did you have some sort of reasonable excuse?’, which, in law, would effectively be a defence for being there.”
He added, “So, if he was given a fixed penalty notice for each and every one of those, I think that he would be given those sort of cumulative amounts until eventually the final one would be £6,400.
“So overall, and assuming there isn’t a big £10,000 one for hosting a gathering in the flat of over 30 people, he could still be in line for over £10,000 worth of fixed penalty notices if they accumulate.”
The Metropolitan Police said the questionnaire will ask for “an account and explanation of the recipient’s participation” of the events which is the subject of police inquiries.
“If, following an investigation, officers believe it is appropriate because the Covid regulations have been breached without a reasonable excuse, a fixed penalty notice will normally be issued,” the Met statement said.
“We understand the interest in and impact of this case, and are progressing the investigation at pace.
“We are committed to completing our investigations proportionately, fairly and impartially.”