Police must investigate ‘historic crimes’, says minister after Raab suggests No 10 parties should be ignored

‘If reports are made then inquiries should follow’, says policing minister

Adam Forrest
Monday 06 December 2021 08:55
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Dominic Raab says police don't investigate crimes a year after they've been committed

Police should investigate whether Christmas parties were held in Downing Street in violation of Covid restrictions if a report is made, the policing minister has suggested.

Home Office minister Kit Malthouse said forces “should be investigating anything that is a historic crime to them”, amid claims that festive events were held at No 10 while strict curbs were in place last year.

It follows criticism of justice secretary Dominic Raab after he suggested on Sunday that police “don’t normally look back and investigate things that have taken place a year ago”.

But Mr Malthouse told Sky News on Monday: “If reports are made then inquiries should follow and let’s see where it goes after that … we’ll learn more about it in the days to come.”

Asked about the reported parties on Times Radio, Mr Malthouse added: “I don’t even know if there was an event. I know these allegations have been made. But if they have and the police have a look, it’s for them to form a view and I shouldn’t really attempt to influence that either way.”

The Metropolitan Police is now considering letters of complaints from Labour MPs that Boris Johnson and his staff may have broken Covid rules with parties at No 10 in the run-up to Christmas last year.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said it was policy “not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations” – but added: “We will however consider the correspondence received.”

Mr Raab said on Sunday that if a formal party were found to have been held at No 10 “that is something that is clearly contrary to the guidance”. But the justice secretary also said that police “don’t normally look back and investigate things that have taken place a year ago”.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said she would “look into” what communication there was with the Met about allegations a party took place in No 10 during Covid restrictions last year.

Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick had said on Friday morning that she was not aware of any complaints being received on the issue at that stage. Labour MPs Barry Gardiner and Neil Coyle subsequently wrote letters to the police chief.

“I just don’t understand that response because you know, I understand that other MPs have raised it directly with her and also that it has been in the newspapers repeatedly,” said Ms Cooper.

The Labour frontbencher added: “I wanted to find out what’s happened because my understanding is that this has actually been raised with her and she has been sent questions about this by other MPs, by other London MPs. So I will look into what has happened here.”

Meanwhile, Mr Malthouse said he would be “surprised” if there were not users of illegal drugs in parliament after a newspaper investigation found traces of cocaine in numerous sites.

The Sunday Times reported that all but one of 12 lavatory areas in parliament that were tested showed traces of the class A substance.

“There are obviously several thousand people who work on the estate and I would be surprised if there weren’t some lifestyle users of drugs amongst them,” said the policing minister.

It comes as the government unveils a £700m plan to tackle problem drug use over the next three years – including moves which would see middle-class “lifestyle” drug offenders have their passports and driving licences taken away.

Asked if some of his own colleagues could be hit by proposals to remove the passports and driving licences of offenders, Mr Malthouse told Sky News: “I hope not.”

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