The Partygate scandal has been out of the news for weeks but the Metropolitan police is poised to issue the first tranche of fines to people attending parties at No 10 or Whitehall that broke Covid regulations. My colleagues Jessica Elgot and Aubrey Allegretti broke the story last night.
It is still not clear how today is going to play out, but it is quite possible that we will end up with what journalists call a one fact story - in the form of a short announcement from the Met saying that a certain number of fines have been issued. The Met won't issue a full list of names and, although No 10 has said it's going to say if Boris Johnson gets a fine, it is not committed to naming other people. Today s fines will only be the beginning. The Met has already contacted more than 100 people who have broken the law through Partygate, and earlier this month it said it was widening its investigation. This process has a lot more to do.
But a one fact story can be sensational, and confirmation that people are being fined for breaking Covid rules at No 10 would be hugely significant. When Sue Gray, the civil servant examining the affair, published her interim update in January, she implied very strongly that the law had been broken, but she stressed that it was not a judgment for her. She said something.
Any uncertainty about whether or not the law will be broken at No 10 is expected to be swept away today. That will revive questions about why Boris Johnson repeatedly assured MPs and the public that the rules were followed.
It's a different matter whether or not No 10 will address these questions today. If it happens, we might move on to a two fact story. The government is stalling its response, judging by what Will Quince, education minister, said when asked about this on the Today programme. Quince said today :
Quince conceded that the parties shouldn't have happened, but that was implicit in Johnson's statement on MPs on January 31 when the first Sue Gray report was published.
Here is the agenda for the day.
10.30 am: Sue Gray gives evidence to the House of Lords Common Frameworks scrutiny committee. The Common Frameworks programme is a mechanism for ensuring that Westminster and the devolved governments use powers that are repatriated from the EU in a way that avoids clashes. Gray is giving evidence because she is the second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, when she is not investigating No 10 partying.
Peter Hebblethwaite, the P&O chief executive, gives evidence to the Scottish Parliament's net zero committee at around 10.45 am.
11.30 am: Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng takes questions in the Commons.
Afternoon: MPs debate a Labour motion that would force the government to publish internal advice and minutes relating to the decision to give Evgeny Lebedev a peerage.
I try to monitor the comments below the BTL line, but it is impossible to read all of them. If you have a direct question, include Andrew somewhere and I'm more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and if they are of general interest, I will reply above the line ATL, although I can't promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to draw my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter.