Downing Street Xmas party: Met Police will not investigate allegations of ‘illegal’ gatherings at Number 10
The Metropolitan Police previously said that leaked footage showing Downing Street staff joking about alleged parties would be “reviewed”
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The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they will not investigate an alleged illegal Christmas party which took place at Downing Street last December.
The alleged party in question, which is said to have taken place on 18 December, has been the subject of a major scandal for the government, who categorically deny that any gathering took place and no rules were broken.
The Metropolitan Police previously said they were were reviewing leaked footage obtained by ITV which showed Downing Street staff joking about the gathering in December 2020, reiterating their line that Covid crimes are not investigated “retrospectively”.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Downing Street has remained under pressure after details of parties and gathering at Number 10 in December last year were leaked to the media
- In a leaked video, Boris Johnson’s former press secretary and advisor, Allegra Stratton, was seen joking about the parties with colleagues in a mock media conference
- The footage, which was filmed one year before details of the alleged parties were made public, led to the resignation of Ms Stratton from her role as Mr Johnson’s advisor
- The Prime Minister has maintained that as far as he was aware no party had taken place and no rules had been broken
- The Metropolitan Police has now said that there will not be an investigation into the claims that Downing Street officials gathered in December 2020 after previously stating that they were reviewing the footage
What did the Metropolitan Police say?
The Metropolitan Police said that they had received “a significant amount of correspondence” relation to the allegations but will not “commence an investigation at this time”.
It comes after the force previously said that Covid breaches were not investigated “retroactively”.
They said that there was a “absence of evidence” to launch a investigation into the claims.
Boris Johnson today announced that an investigation into whether a gathering took would be led by the Cabinet Secretary, with the Met Police saying that if any evidence arises from this investigation, it will be further reviewed.
A statement issued by the force said: “Based on the absence of evidence and in line with our policy not to investigate retrospective breaches of such regulations, the Met will not commence an investigation at this time,” it added.
“The Met has had discussions with the Cabinet Office in relation to the investigation by the Cabinet Secretary. If any evidence is found as a result of that investigation, it will be passed to the Met for further consideration.”
What has been said about the scandal?
Mr Johnson has continued to deny that any wrongdoing took place in Downing Street last December.
In PMQs, he claimed he was “furious” over the footage of staff joking about the allegations, adding: ““I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures, and I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules because I was also furious to see that clip.
“I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country and I apologise for the impression that it gives.
“But I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured.”
The incident has caused huge backlash from the public and political opponents, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claiming that the Conservatives has been “caught red-handed”.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford even called for Mr Johnson to resign over the scandal.
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