Boris Johnson branded a ‘lucky general’ after avoiding any further Partygate fines as Met Police dish out 126 penalties

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BORIS Johnson was last night branded a “lucky general” after he avoided any further Partygate fines.

Cops called time on their probe yesterday and revealed they issued 126 penalties to ministers and aides.

Boris Johnson was branded a ‘lucky general’ after avoiding any further Partygate fines

A staggering 83 people were stung — making Whitehall the country’s most fined workplace.

But the PM and his wife Carrie walked away with just the one penalty they had already received — despite being at a string of the lockdown-busting gatherings.

As the news swept through Westminster, several Tory rebels laid down their weapons and declared Mr Johnson was now safe in No10.

At least one MP is understood to have withdrawn their letter of no confidence in the PM.

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It was also confirmed Chancellor Rishi Sunak, fined last month for singing Happy Birthday at the PM’s event, would face no further action.

Meanwhile, former critic Sir Charles Walker compared “extra-ordinary” Mr Johnson to a written-off cricket star who defies his critics to “smash 100”.

But others warned the PM is not out of the woods yet as he is set to get roasted by Whitehall sleaze-buster Sue Gray in her long-awaited report next week.

Mr Johnson did not comment on the end of the probe, although he is expected to issue a grovelling apology to Parliament next week.

The PM’s spokesman said: “He is focused on issues that affect the public. This morning he was speaking to [Ukraine] President Zelensky, this afternoon he will hold meetings on the global cost-of-living challenge.”

Costing nearly half a million pounds, the Met Police Partygate inquiry saw 12 coppers spend four months combing through hundreds of photos, diary entries and witness statements.

They issued 126 fines to Whitehall insiders for booze-fuelled lockdown-breaking bashes across eight dates during the pandemic.

The PM, Carrie and Chancellor were all stung for the infamous birthday party where Mr Johnson was “ambushed by cake”.

The PM and his wife Carrie walked away with just the one penalty they had already received

At least one MP is understood to have withdrawn their letter of no confidence in the PM

After months of open warfare in his party and plots to oust him from the top job, the PM appears safe as he escaped a second fine, potentially a final nail in the coffin.

Sir Keir Starmer repeated his call for him to quit over “industrial scale law-breaking” in No10.

But facing his own probe for allegations he broke lockdown with Currygate, he fell short of ordering a full onslaught on the PM.

Kit Malthouse, Cabinet Minister for Policing, said: “I’m pleased that it’s done, thankful to the police for conducting themselves efficiently.

“The PM has apologised for the cake incident, and I hope now we can now move on to the really pressing issues.”

It is believed Mr Johnson avoided getting multiple fines because Downing Street is both his workplace and his home.

Tory rebels last night admitted he looks safer in his job than he has for months.

Sir Charles said: “Love him or loathe him, Boris Johnson is an extraordinary politician. Four months ago, most people thought he was down and out — I was one of those people — and he rewrote the script.

“He is a bit like that all-rounder who has been written off time and time again and then grabs the bowling ball and takes five for 15 or smashes 100 or does both things in the same match.”

Another Tory said: “He is a very lucky general.”

Admitting defeat, he added: “It seems I was wrong. The Prime Minister is going to continue in No10 now.

“Strangely, it could be that the Leader of the Opposition now faces calls to consider his position.”

Another Tory MP slammed police for wasting time and money to work out if the PM spent ten minutes in a room with a slice of cake he did not eat.

They added: “It has been a total waste of time and a total distraction. I think we are all glad the line has been drawn under the matter. Police should now come out and say, they will not issue any more fines for retrospective Covid breaches — and that includes Durham looking into Sir Keir Starmer. We have to move on.”

Other Tory rebels said the decision has “bought Boris time” – but a coup is still possible if he loses next month’s by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton.

One said: “A lot of people feel he has survived it. But there is still rage bubbling beneath the surface in the party.”

Meanwhile, some Tory MPs are worried the PM has become “toxic” with voters and is a “drag” on the party. Conservative Campaign HQ polling given to some politicians show Mr Johnson is rating well below the Tory party with voters.

‘DRAG ON THE PARTY’

One usually loyal MP said: “He is a drag on the party in the polls.

“He needs to prove he can win back trust and is still a winner. I want to see him do something big on the cost-of-living crisis.”

A Savanta ComRes poll found that Labour are now seven points ahead of the Tories.

Sir Keir’s party is on 41 per cent, while the Conservatives are on 34 per cent, the survey found. This is Labour’s best rating since the beginning of April, but would still see them failing to score an outright election majority.

Allies of the PM said he had listened to the anger of Partygate and ordered a reorganisation of his Downing Street team.

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