| 6 October 2022, Thursday |

UK: Criminal investigation into Downing Street parties launched by British police

An investigation into “a series of occurrences” in Downing Street and Whitehall that may have violated coronavirus laws, has been initiated by the Metropolitan Police Service

“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,” Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick tells the London Assembly.
Commissioner Dick said the decision to investigate stemmed from “my officers’ own assessment” and facts provided by the Cabinet Office probe into the gatherings.

It’s yet another setback for British PM Boris Johnson, whose political career is already in jeopardy ahead of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s long-awaited report.
According to a representative for the Cabinet Office, the investigation, which is being directed by senior civil servant Sue Gray, is “ongoing” and there is “ongoing interaction” with the Met.
“We have a long-established and effective working relationship with the Cabinet Office, who have an investigative capability.As you well know they have been carrying out an investigation over the last few weeks,” Dick said.

Johnson is now trying to shore up his premiership after claims that he and his staff partied at the heart of the British state during the worst pandemic for a century.

Reported revelry throughout Britain’s multiple coronavirus lockdowns includes boozy staff parties, suitcases of supermarket wine, a broken children’s swing, a wine fridge and jokes by staff about how to present such parties to reporters.

The scandal has hammered Johnson’s approval ratings, seen his Conservative Party fall far behind the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls and raised the prospect of a leadership challenge from within his own party.

Several Conservatives have called for him to resign, although fewer than the 54 required to trigger a confidence vote among lawmakers which would, if lost, result in a leadership contest.

  • DW