Met Police will not investigate No10 'Christmas party' due to 'absence of evidence'

8 December 2021, 19:28 | Updated: 8 December 2021, 20:49

The Met will not investigate allegations of a Downing Street Christmas party
The Met will not investigate allegations of a Downing Street Christmas party. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Police will not examine the alleged Downing Street Christmas party despite the leaked video on Tuesday showing officials laugh about one.

The Metropolitan Police said an "absence of evidence" and a policy "not to investigate retrospective breaches" of Covid regulations meant it would not look into the allegation.

On Tuesday, the force said it was aware of the footage showing Allegra Stratton, the spokesperson for Boris Johnson, and aides talking about a party which ministers deny took place, insisting any event was within guidelines.

London was in Tier 3 restrictions at the time.

Read more: 'Fuming' Tories lash out at PM's 'pathetic' response to Christmas party video

In a statement, the Met said: "The Metropolitan Police Service has received a significant amount of correspondence relating to allegations reported in the media that the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations were breached at gatherings at No10 Downing Street in November and December 2020.

"All this correspondence has been considered by detectives in detail, as well as footage published by ITV News. The correspondence and footage does not provide evidence of a breach of the Health Protection Regulations, but restates allegations made in the media.

"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.

"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."

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Labour called for the alleged party to be investigated by the Met Police, with leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the leaked video indicates that the PM has "not been straight" about claims of a festive gathering, with some reports claiming it featured alcohol and "secret Santa" present-giving.

Labour backbenchers Neil Coyle and Barry Gardiner each wrote to Scotland Yard asking police to investigate reports that two parties were held in the run-up to last Christmas at a time when such gatherings were banned.

Mr Johnson has not denied the events took place but said no rules were broken - although he has repeatedly refused to explain how that could be the case.

When asked about the alleged breach during his Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister reiterated that he believes no rules were broken.

"According to very, very well respected civil servants and advisers... no rules were broken," said Mr Johnson.

"I've asked Simon Case to look at the December 18 events, I'm sure he'll be considering all sorts of things.

"But as far as I'm concerned... people in this building have stayed within the rules.

"If that turns out not to be the case... then of course there will be a proper sanctions but in the meantime I think what we should do is let Simon get on with his job."