Police not investigating Downing Street ‘lockdown parties’ as no complaints made

Police not investigating Downing Street ‘lockdown parties’ as no complaints made

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The Met Police is currently not investigating claims Downing Street hosted Christmas parties during lockdown last December – because the force has yet to receive any official complaints.

But commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said: ‘If I get a letter, I’ll read a letter’ when quizzed about whether an inquiry would be launched.

Dozens of staff members are said to have been ‘cheek by jowl’ at festive gatherings, according to the Daily Mirror.

They enjoyed ‘drinks, nibbles and games’ while London was under Tier 3 restrictions – as millions spent Christmas alone or apart from loved ones in accordance with Covid rules.

A Tory spokesperson insisted: ‘Covid rules were followed at all times.’

But Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner, last night demanded answers from Britain’s most senior civil servant, cabinet secretary Simon Case – and asked if he plans to call in the police.

Today Dame Cressida told LBC Radio she was unaware of any complaints being made to date.

Responding to a caller during a phone-in, the Met Commissioner said: ‘You asked if we are investigating – the answer to that is no.

‘And, as far as I’m aware, we have had no complaints and therefore I really can’t comment on what did or didn’t happen there.’

Asked what would happen if she received a letter, she said: ‘If I get a letter, I’ll read a letter.’

Pressed further, she said: ‘This is the Met. We are professional. We are impartial. We act without fear or favour. We follow evidence. That’s what we do.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a speech at a leaving do for a senior aide, with 50 guests in attendance, last November during the second lockdown, according to the Mirror.

Colleagues then held their own party days before Christmas.

The parties could have been punishable with a £10,000 fine, according to a legal expert.

Ms Rayner wrote in a letter to Mr Case, published on Twitter: ‘This was exactly at the time when the rest of the country was in a lockdown and the guidance from central government was very clear that large parties and gatherings were explicitly forbidden.’

She asked if the cabinet secretary is considering referring the ‘breach of Covid regulations by the Prime Minister’ to the police.

The Labour deputy suggested it was a ‘breach of the Ministerial Code to request officials act in a way that is contrary to the law’, adding: ‘Will you be investigating the actions of the Prime Minister as a breach that compromised the integrity of officials that were present?’

Ms Rayner concluded: ‘It cannot be that the Prime Minister believes there are a set of rules for the public and a totally different set of rules for himself.’

Thousands also shared their frustration on Twitter over the alleged rule-breaking.

It is a fresh headache for the Prime Minister after weeks in crisis – including the sleaze row which saw the Tories repeatedly accused of hypocrisy.

This morning Conservative party chairman, Oliver Dowden, said his focus was not on conversations about ‘what may or may not have happened over a year ago in Downing Street’.

But he insisted: ‘I have, however, been assured by what the Prime Minister has said, which is that the rules at all times were obeyed in Downing Street.’

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