Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.


Rishi Sunak news – live: Met Police open fresh inquiries into two more Partygate allegations

Police also announced they will take no further action against Boris Johnson

Rishi Sunak says he has not read Partygate report in detail

Police have reopened an investigation into potential Covid breaches during a Tory party HQ Christmas Party and launched a fresh probe into a gathering in parliament.

But they will take no further action against Boris Johnson over gatherings at Downing Street and the then-prime minister’s country residence Chequers in 2020 and 2021.

Scotland Yard said that after assessing new evidence including a video, it was re-investigating a “Jingle and Mingle” party at the Conservative Party’s campaign headquarters on 14 December 2020.

The second probe will look into an event on 8 December 2020 – the date of an alleged drinks event attended by Tory grandee Sir Bernard Jenkin.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “The Met is now re-opening an investigation into potential breaches of the Regulations at an event in Matthew Parker Street on 14 December 2020.

“Following assessment of material relating to a gathering in parliament, the Met is opening an investigation into potential breaches of the Regulations at an event on 8 December 2020.”


We are pausing updates on live blog

We are pausing updates on our live blog.

Thank you for tuning in.

Please check out our website for the latest updates.

Tara Cobham5 July 2023 09:14

RECAP: Eight Tories who undermined democracy over Partygate

Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg are among eight senior Tories who attempted to undermine the work of the Privileges Committee as it investigated Boris Johnson, a fresh Partygate report has found.

In a damning annex to its orginal report, the MPs spelled out a series of the most “disturbing” attacks on its inquiry into Mr Johnson’s lies to Parliament.

Seven MPs, and one peer, are named in the report, which accused them of being part of an “unprecedented and coordinated” campaign to undermine the House of Commons.

Archie Mitchell reports:

Partygate: The 8 Tories who undermined democracy from Dorries to Rees-Mogg

In a damning new report, the Privileges Committee slammed ‘disturbing’ attacks on its Partygate inquiry

Tara Cobham5 July 2023 07:48

Liberal Democrats call for pausing of Shaun Bailey’s peerage

The Liberal Democrats renewed calls for Shaun Bailey’s peerage to be paused as police investigate the Tory headquarters gathering during Covid restrictions.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Rishi Sunak needs to confirm he will call for honours to be stripped from anyone found to have broken the law. Anything less would make a complete mockery of his pledge to lead with integrity.

“He should also step in to stop Shaun Bailey from taking his seat as a peer while this investigation takes place.”

Namita Singh5 July 2023 07:00

What did the Met office say?

Issuing a statement about the new investigation into potential Covid breaches in December 2020, Metropolitan police said: “The Met and Thames Valley Police have assessed new material in relation to potential breaches of Covid Regulations in 2020 and 2021. The Met will be opening one investigation and re-opening a previous investigation.

“The approach to the assessment of these events has been consistent, enforcing the law carefully, thoroughly, proportionately, impartially and without fear or favour.

A police officer walks past the door to 10 Downing Street, the official residence of Britain’s prime minister, in London on 25 January 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

“The Met has previously published criteria for assessing when to launch investigations into breaches of the Regulations reported retrospectively.”

The force added it would only do so when there was evidence of a “serious and flagrant” breach of the rules and said it would provide further updates at an “appropriate time”.

Addressing the material it had been referred to over Boris Johnson’s time in Chequers and Downing Street, the Met said it had assessed the events alongside Thames Valley and found they did “not meet the retrospective criteria” for opening an investigation.

Namita Singh5 July 2023 06:30

Met previously decided ‘insufficient evidence’ to take action in ‘jingle and mingle’ event

The Metropolitan police had previously investigated the “jingle and mingle” event organised at Conservative Party’s campaign headquarters on 14 December 2020 but decided there was “insufficient evidence” to take further action.

Both former London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey and Tory aide Ben Mallett - who were handed a peerage and an OBE respectively in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours - attended the gathering.

File: Shaun Bailey poses for a photo as he speaks to the media on 5 May 2021 (Getty Images)

In a clip published by the Mirror last month, Conservative Party staff appear to dance, drink and joke about Covid restrictions. Mr Bailey, who remains a London Assembly Member, resigned as chairman of the governing body’s Police and Crime Committee after the picture emerged.

The Met issued 126 fines over rule breaches in Whitehall and Downing Street while Mr Johnson was prime minister, in a scandal that helped end his tenure in No 10.

Mr Johnson and his then-chancellor Rishi Sunak paid fixed-penalty notices over a gathering held for Mr Johnson’s 56th birthday.

Namita Singh5 July 2023 06:00

Sir Bernard refuses to comment on probe

Sir Bernard Jenkins has refused to issue a statement on the ongoing probe looking into 8 December 2020 “birthday drinks”.

“It is not appropriate to comment on a continuing investigation,” he said.

Namita Singh5 July 2023 05:30

Birthday drinks ‘arranged’ by deputy speaker

The 8 December 2020 “birthday drinks” are said to have been arranged by Commons deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing while London was in Tier 2 measures that restricted indoor socialising.

A spokeswoman for the speaker’s office said: “As this is a live investigation any further inquiries should be directed to the Met Police.”

According to PA news agency, Dame Eleanor will not be stepping down as deputy speaker while the investigation continues.

Namita Singh5 July 2023 05:00

Boris Johnson accuses Sir Bernard Jenkin of ‘monstrous hypocrisy’

The Metropolitan Police launched a new probe into an event in parliament on 8 December 2020, when privileges committee member Sir Bernard Jenkin is reported to have attended a “birthday drinks” event for his wife in parliament.

File: Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin arrives in Downing Street in central London on 2 September 2019 (AFP via Getty Images)

The 8 December gathering was cited by Boris Johnson in a scathing statement accusing Sir Bernard of “monstrous hypocrisy” for allegedly attending the event before sitting on the cross-party panel which found the former prime minister had lied to MPs with his Partygate denials.

Namita Singh5 July 2023 04:30

Two new Partygate investigations opened by Met police – as Boris Johnson let off the hook

The Partygate scandal deepened on Tuesday night as police dramatically opened two new investigations into events held in parliament and Conservative Party headquarters during Covid restrictions – but said they would take no further action against Boris Johnson.

Scotland Yard announced that it was reinvestigating a “jingle and mingle” Christmas party held by Shaun Bailey’s London mayoral campaign staff at CCHQ on 14 December 2020, after assessing new video evidence.

Rishi Sunak immediately faced fresh calls to block Mr Bailey’s peerage – handed to the failed mayoral candidate by Mr Johnson in his resignation honours – while the police investigation takes place.

My colleagues Lizzie Dearden, Kate Devlin and Adam Forrest report:

Two new Partygate investigations opened by Met Police – as Boris let off the hook

Scotland Yard says Chequers and No 10 events don’t merit investigation – but drinks gathering for Sir Bernard Jenkin’s wife and CCHQ bash will be looked into

Namita Singh5 July 2023 03:52

Watch: Rishi Sunak says he has not read Partygate report in detail

Rishi Sunak says he has not read Partygate report in detail
Martha Mchardy5 July 2023 03:00

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in