'If the Everard vigil was BYOB, would the have Met ignored it?'

13 January 2022, 11:33 | Updated: 13 January 2022, 11:52

Sadiq Khan was asked if the Met would have ignored the Sarah Everard vigil if it was BYOB
Sadiq Khan was asked if the Met would have ignored the Sarah Everard vigil if it was BYOB. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Will Taylor

This is the moment an LBC caller asked Sadiq Khan if police would have ignored the Sarah Everard vigil if it had been a BYOB party.

Outrage at a Downing Street garden event during the first lockdown in 2020 has erupted, following weeks of alleged gatherings that breached Covid rules.

Boris Johnson is fighting for his future as Prime Minister after he issued a grovelling apology for attending the do for 25 minutes, but insisted to MPs that he believed it was a work event.

There is fury at the rule-makers, who changed Brits' lives beyond recognition to stop Covid spreading, appearing to have broken their own restrictions.

Read more: Sadiq Khan slams PM's 'blatant lying' over partygate and labels scandal a 'smoking gun'

Read more: Beleaguered Boris cancels trip to vaccine centre after family member catches Covid

Calling in to LBC's Speak to Sadiq, David from Enfield asked: "If the Sarah Everard vigil had been a bring your own bottle gathering, would the Met have ignored it?"

The vigil for Ms Everard, which saw people honour the murdered 33-year-old, was broken up in March 2021.

London's mayor said that he put on record at the time he was unhappy with the way the Met approached the event, which happened amid Covid restrictions.

Now, that gathering has been compared to the May 2020 No10 BYOB party, which police did not break up - and although the Met has contacted the Cabinet Office over 'partygate', it has resisted calls to open an investigation.

Sadiq Khan: Sarah Everard Vigil and Met Police investigation on Downing Street Parties

Mr Khan said: "The reason why your question is so pertinent is because we now know those making the rules and lecturing us to follow the rules were blatantly breaking the rules and they must have known, David, I fail to believe that his [the PM's] right hand men didn't know they were breaking the rules.

"And that's why for those who were treated, in their eyes, badly on that day during the vigil - for them the hypocrisy is what is so upsetting.

"And I think it is important that the Prime Minister understands the scale of the anger felt not just by those who supported the women at the vigil but others across the country who couldn't do what they wanted to do because they were following the rules."

Mr Khan told James O'Brien that he wanted to ensure he does not influence the police by telling them who to investigate, given that he is in charge of the force as London's Police and Crime Commissioner.

"Because there are some people I don’t like, there are some people who are my opponents, just imagine if the police allowed themselves to be influenced by me," he said.

Sadiq Khan: Boris Johnson is a 'disgrace and a liar'

But he added: "If [the police] don't respond in a way where the public has confidence, the police will investigate without fear or favour, the public will lose confidence and we police by consent.

"That's why it's so important not just the Met Police service but all police forces across our country act and are seen to act in a way that's impartial, and the reality is over the weekend, when I saw the email from one of the civil servants, you put that with the photograph that we've seen and put that with the various parties we know took place, I think those are a smoking gun."

An investigation into Downing Street parties its under way, with civil servant Sue Gray leading it.

Mr Johnson has faced calls from Scottish Conservatives to resign, with Labour telling him to go.

His Cabinet has rallied around him, though Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, who is tipped to throw his hat in the ring in any leadership contest if Mr Johnson were to go, was seen 200 miles from Westminster as the PM apologised to MPs in Parliament.