Ex-chiefs pile pressure on Met and Cressida Dick to probe No 10 lockdown parties as they warn it has become an ‘issue of public confidence’
Scotland Yard was facing intense pressure last night to investigate No10 lockdown parties as ex-police chiefs said it had become an ‘issue of public confidence’.
Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has been bombarded with complaints and faces legal action over the decision not to investigate parties held in apparent breach of lockdown rules.
Yesterday, a number of former chief constables demanded a probe, as legal experts suggested Boris Johnson could even be named as an ‘accessory to a crime’ if he attended a party in his own garden during the lockdown.
The Met announced officers were in touch with the Cabinet Office in light of ‘widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street’.
Ex-chiefs have piled pressure on Met and Cressida Dick (pictured) to probe No 10 lockdown parties
Boris Johnson (pictured returning from his morning run today) has ducked questions about whether he attended the May 20 garden party, merely insisting it was a matter for Sue Gray, the senior official leading an investigation into allegations of lockdown-busting parties across Whitehall
The Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 staff to bring their own drinks to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20, 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’, an email leaked to ITV News shows
A Met Police tweet on May 20, 2020 laying down the rules that prevented more than two people from different households from meeting outside
But detectives refused to step in, insisting it was up to the Cabinet Office to investigate, despite a bombshell email from one of the Prime Minister’s top officials inviting more than 100 Downing Street staff to a ‘bring your own booze’ party in the first lockdown.
Attendees have claimed Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie were present at the garden gathering on May 20, 2020.
Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister and visiting law professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, said yesterday the Prime Minister could not be fined as he was technically in his own garden.
But the Covid regulation expert told BBC Radio 4: ‘The only potential offence which could apply to the Prime Minister would be being an accessory to other people’s crimes.
At the time, you could meet just one person outside your household 2m apart in an outdoor, public place.
Sir Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Greater Manchester, said there were questions for police on duty at the time, adding: ‘They were monitoring who was going in and out. Did they realise this might not be quite right?
‘Was it raised as a concern? On the other side of that big gate, other officers are stopping people on the street and fining them for Covid breaches.’
A previous photograph obtained by the Guardian showed an event in the Downing Street garden n May 15, 2020
Mr Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings has alleged that the PM himself – whom he has taken to referring to as the ‘trolley’ in a reference to erratic decision-making – was at the gathering on May 20, 2020
Senior Tories have voiced disbelief at the latest Partygate allegations threatening to destabilise the PM
Boris Johnson holds up three fingers to signify the three doses he has been given, after receiving his booster jab at a vaccination clinic at St Thomas’ Hospital on December 2, 2021. More than 150,000 people in the UK have died of coronavirus
The current chief constable, Stephen Watson said: ‘It’s really important that adherence to legislation is uniformly observed and properly enforced.’
Sir Hugh Orde, ex-head of the Association of Chief Police Officers said: ‘There’s certainly an issue of public confidence.’
Yesterday, Lib Dem London politician Caroline Pidgeon wrote to Dame Cressida asking for an investigation.
The Good Law Project campaign group has started legal proceedings over the Met’s refusal to investigate reports of a No10 party on December 18, 2020. No action is expected until the conclusion of a Cabinet Office probe by senior civil servant Sue Gray.