British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday vowed to cooperate with police in any formal probe into coronavirus lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street, which has deepened the threat to his position.
“I welcome the Met’s decision to conduct its own investigation because I believe this will give the public the clarity it needs and help draw a line under the matter,” he told parliament.
London’s Metropolitan Police have faced widespread criticism for refusing to investigate a steady drip of allegations over the last two years.
But she told the local authority: “The fact that we are now investigating does not of course mean that fixed penalty notices (fines) will necessarily be issued in every instance to every person involved.”
Labour prime minister Tony Blair was interviewed as a witness in a police investigation into “cash for honours” allegations. Police announced in 2007 that no charges would be brought.
Johnson’s spokesman said her fact-finding work not related to the police investigation would continue.
– Internal probe –
Up to 30 people were present, ITV News alleged. At the time, social gatherings were only permitted between six people outside.
Many highlighted how they missed significant birthdays themselves due to social distancing, and were unable to comfort sick and dying loved ones struck down with Covid.
London’s Labour party mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the police investigation.
“No one is above the law. There cannot be one rule for the government and another for everyone else.”
Dick declined to give a timeframe for the investigation or say whether the Met would be taking witness statements from police stationed at Downing Street.
Supporters of Johnson in his Conservative party have played down the latest revelations and the threat to his position, just over two years after a landslide election win.
But Jonathan Evans, the head of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said recent government corruption and cronyism claims had the potential to undermine public trust.
“People do care about it and they do expect those people who are representing them… to be maintaining high standards and to put the interests of the public first, rather than their own personal or political interests.”