Met Police launches new Partygate investigation

Force investigating CCHQ video and potential breaches at Chequers, No.10 and parliament
Photo: Britpix/Alamy Stock Photo

By Tevye Markson

19 Jun 2023

The Metropolitan Police has launched a new series of Partygate investigations after receiving new information in relation to a number of alleged breaches of Covid regulations dating back to 2020 and 2021.

The force previously issued 126 fines to 83 attendees at events in No.10 during the pandemic, including to former prime minister Boris Johnson and current PM Rishi Sunak.

In an update today, the Met said a number of other events have subsequently been referred to the force and that it was in the process of assessing them. This includes a re-investigation into a Conservative Party HQ Christmas party in 2020, after a video showing workers drinking and dancing at the event was leaked.

The Met said it is "assessing video footage that was not previously provided to officers when investigating an event in Matthew Parker Street on 14 December 2020".  The force previously looked into the CCHQ event, but issued no fines.

It is also investigating "material referred by the Cabinet Office to the Met and Thames Valley Police regarding potential breaches of the regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Downing Street and Chequers".

Last month, the Met said it had received reports about potential breaches of the health protection regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Chequers, Buckinghamshire and Downing Street.

It is also looking into a report handed to the Met on Thursday "regarding media reporting of alleged breaches in parliament". The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the force had received a report following claims that MP and Privilege Committee member Sir Bernard Jenkin had attended a "rule-breaking-event" in breach of restrictions.

The force said its "approach to the assessment of these allegations has been consistent throughout, enforcing the law carefully, thoroughly, proportionately, impartially and without fear or favour".

The Met’s approach has involved launching retrospective investigations into breaches of Covid regulations “when there is evidence of a serious and flagrant breach” and where:

  • It is proportionate and there is evidence that those involved knew or ought to have known what they were doing was an offence
  • Not investigating would significantly undermine the legitimacy of the law
  • There is little ambiguity around the absence of a reasonable defence

In a statement, the Met said: "It would not be appropriate to prejudge the outcome of these assessments or to provide a running commentary on their progress. We will provide further updates at the appropriate time."

The force said it will provide further updates “at the appropriate time”.

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