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Met considering complaints from Labour MPs over PM's Christmas party accusations
4 December 2021, 16:41 | Updated: 4 December 2021, 16:53
The Metropolitan Police have said they are considering complaints from Labour MPs that Boris Johnson and his No 10 staff held Christmas parties in breach of Covid regulations.
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Labour backbenchers Neil Coyle and Barry Gardiner have each written 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.
It comes after Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick told LBC on Friday that no complaints had been received about alleged lockdown parties - something that Mr Gardiner expressed surprise at in his letter.
I look forward to Dame Cressida’s response as to whether @metpoliceuk will investigate the Downing Street Christmas parties and whether the law was broken. Nobody is above the law. pic.twitter.com/LA5tibBUqk— Barry Gardiner (@BarryGardiner) December 3, 2021
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.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said that while it did not routinely investigate "retrospective" breaches of the Covid regulations, it was considering the correspondence it had received.
I’ve asked @metpoliceuk to investigate the Downing Street parties in 2020. I believe they broke the law. Most of my constituents followed the rules; those that didn’t faced penalties. Johnson is not above the law, despite his bloated sense of self-entitlement. pic.twitter.com/ilpVk7o6Mf— Neil Coyle (@coyleneil) December 3, 2021
It was reported on Wednesday that the Prime Minister had given a speech at a packed leaving party for a senior aide last November, when the country was in the midst of a second lockdown.
The Daily Mirror also said members of his No 10 team then held their own festive party in the days before Christmas, while London was under Tier 3 restrictions.
In each case, the paper reported, there were 40 or 50 people crammed "cheek by jowl" into a medium-sized room in No 10.
In his letter to the police, Mr Coyle said: "The sense of outrage from constituents is palpable that they followed the rules while those responsible for devising and enforcing them were breaching them at the top of government.
"The Prime Minister has been questioned on this and has replied that 'no Covid rules were broken' but from reading the guidance I believe even holding these events was a breach of the rules at the time."
In his letter, Mr Gardiner expressed surprise about Dame Cressida's comments on LBC.
"If these events did take place, it implies that there is one rule for the Government and another for everyone else," he said.
"I believe your officers should investigate the matter further to establish the facts and to see if any laws might have been broken."
Separately, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to ask whether he had considered referring the matter to the Met.
In a statement, the force said: "The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting and has received correspondence relating to alleged breaches of the health protection regulations at a Government building on two dates in November and December 2020.
"It is our policy not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations; we will however consider the correspondence received."