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

13 January 2022, 11:03 | Updated: 13 January 2022, 12:08

By Emma Soteriou

Sadiq Khan has slammed Boris Johnson for his "blatant lying" over the partygate scandal.

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Speaking during a phone-in, Mayor of London also said that the leaked partygate email is a "smoking gun" for police to investigate.

"The reality is, over the weekend, when I saw the email from one of the civil servants - you put that with the photograph we've seen and put that with the various parties we know took place - I think those are a smoking gun."

His comments came despite saying that, as the Police and Crime Commissioner, he is not in the position to tell the Met who to investigate.

"What I don’t do - for good constitutional reasons but also because I think it’s wrong - is direct the police who to investigate and tell them how to do their investigations," Mr Khan said.

"Why? Because there are some people I don’t like. There are some people my opponents- just imagine if the police allowed themselves to be influenced by me."

It follows Mr Johnson's admission that he attended a "bring your own booze" party at Downing Street in May 2020, with the Met confirming that it had been in contact with the Cabinet Office over the email.

The force has faced continuous calls to investigate a series of party allegations but previously refused to look into the historic claims.

The Prime Minister made a grovelling apology to MPs on Wednesday but insisted he believed it was a work do.

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

"It's not just the arrogance of the Prime Minister, not just the hypocrisy, it's the blatant lying. It's the pattern of behaviour we're now seeing," Mr Khan said.

He added: "It's him asking us to make sacrifices, him changing rules and then blatantly breaking the rules.

"I remind your listeners we have the Omicron variant - we're being asked to make sacrifices - wear a mask on the tube or in shops, work from home and so forth.

"I know members of my family who have been in hospital recently who have not been able to see family because the hospital is following the rules and trying to keep us safe.

"Lo and behold, almost at the peak of this pandemic, the Prime Minister was blatantly breaking the rules and then lying about it.

"I think the ship has sailed now for this non-apology yesterday.

"I think members of the public now expect him to do the right thing - which will be exceptional for him - and resign."

The Government has asked civil servant Sue Gray to lead an inquiry into all of the party allegations, with the findings set to be passed on to the Met.

The information could be revealed as early as next week, however it depends on whether police launch a criminal probe following the latest revelations.

Read more: 'National treasure' Jonathan Van-Tam to step down as deputy chief medical officer

Calling into the show, David from Enfield asked Mr Khan: "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.

The mayor 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."

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

Dave, an ambulance driver from Deptford, also called in, asking Mr Khan whether key workers would be able to get a waiver for the congestion charge in London.

"What we simply can’t do – and I simply can’t afford it and nor can TfL – is give a waiver to everyone who works in a key worker job in London," the mayor said.

"We are, from February, changing the hours for the congestion charge. And you’ll see many more people like you being exempt from paying it."

Dave argued: "Last year, people were outside clapping their hands saying thank you to me.

"Yet, I'll go and ask everyone, 'do you think I should have to pay the congestion charge to go and do the job I'm doing? I just helped your mum. I just helped your dad.' And I guarantee they'll say no."

He added: "It's a lot of money, especially on my side of the emergency services, which – do you remember the percentage pay rise they gave staff this year? It wasn't great."