Cressida Dick Confirms Police Will Investigate Downing Street Parties
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Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has confirmed her officers will be investigating 'a number of events' in both Downing Street and Whitehall that allegedly breached COVID restrictions.
The move comes as London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee (PCC) grilled the Metropolitan Police chief today, January 25, and marks a U-turn in the force's stance after a spokesperson for the Met earlier said it would only investigate the alleged Downing Street bashes 'if the [Sue Gray] inquiry identifies evidence of behaviour that is potentially a criminal offence'.
'I absolutely understand there is deep public concern about the allegations that have been in the media over the last several weeks', the commissioner said in a statement today.
'What I can tell you this morning is that as a result firstly of the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and secondly my officers' own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.'
No.10 has come under increased scrutiny as the prime minister remains embroiled in the 'Partygate' scandal, which first emerged with leaked clips quipping about parties with ‘cheese and wine' that wouldn't be investigated.
Several other accusations have since come to light, including an alleged 'bring your own booze' party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, a Christmas quiz that Boris Johnson appeared to host, and, most recently, an alleged birthday party for the PM in which 30 people were said to have attended in June 2020, during some of the strictest national coronavirus restrictions.
Johnson earlier apologised for the 'bring your own booze' bash, but insisted he believed it was a work event. 'I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months… and I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules aren’t being properly followed,' he said during PMQs on January 12.
Number 10 also issued an apology to the Queen after it emerged two leaving parties were held in Downing Street the day before she was pictured sat alone at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April 2020.
Prior to the commissioner's statement today, the pressure had been piling on, with Dick reportedly being warned that public trust in the Met had 'severely waned', as per Sky News.
A government spokesperson has confirmed the investigation led by Sue Gray is continuing, with 'ongoing contact' with the Met
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Topics: News, UK News, Boris Johnson, Politics