The Metropolitan Police have this morning said that are to investigate events at Downing Street and Whitehall for potential breaches of Covid restrictions following information from the Cabinet Office inquiry team. This means that the much anticipated publication of Sue Gray’s report into parties at No 10 will now be delayed while the Met carries out its investigation.
This probe comes as a June 2020 birthday gathering for the PM – first reported by ITV News – puts fresh pressure on Boris Johnson. Downing Street does not dispute this birthday party, attended by 30 people including Carrie Johnson and her interior designer Lulu Lyttle, took place but says Boris Johnson was there for less than 10 minutes.
Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick today (25th January 2021) told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, ‘As a result of the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and, secondly, my officers’ own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.’ She added that whilst it would not normally be proportionate for officers to investigate historical allegations of lockdown breaches, investigations have been carried out into serious and flagrant cases where evidence exists.
ITV’s Robert Peston Tweeted that this Police investigation means that the long-anticipated Sue Gray report may not be published for many weeks (see below).
The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, Tweeted in support of Johnson on Monday night, saying, ‘So, when people in an office buy a cake in the middle of the afternoon for someone else they are working in the office with and stop for 10 minutes to sing happy birthday and then go back to their desks, this is now called a party?’