Partygate: Sadiq Khan urges Met Police to ‘explain’ why Boris Johnson wasn’t fined over leaving event

London mayor has written to Met commissioner to seek ‘detailed explanation’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 24 May 2022 20:36
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Police are being urged to explain why Boris Johnson escaped a fine over a lockdown gathering after a leaked photograph showed him raising a glass.

Some who attended the 13 November 2020 event were fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions, but the prime minister was not. Indoor mixing was banned at the time under measures to fight the Covid pandemic.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who said he had “assiduously stayed well away” from the Metropolitan Police investigation, said the force must now provide “clarity” on their conclusions.

The photograph shows at least eight colleagues gathered in a room inside No 10 and the prime minister next to a table with two bottles of champagne or cava, four bottles of wine, and half a bottle of gin.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, confirmed on Tuesday that “there were fixed penalty notices issued” for the event, which marked the departure of Mr Johnson’s director of communications, Lee Cain.

Police last week closed their investigation, paving the way for civil servant Sue Gray’s investigation to be released.

But Mr Khan said there were questions for the police, saying: “I think it’s important, when it comes to trust and confidence, when it comes to policing by consent, when it comes to questions being asked about the integrity of an investigation that the police explain why they’ve reached the conclusions they have.”

Images obtained by ITV News show Boris Johnson raising a glass at a Downing Street leaving party on 13 November 2020

A spokesperson later said Mr Khan had written to the acting Met commissioner “to seek a detailed explanation of the factors which were taken into account by investigating officers when decisions were made about whether to take action in individual cases in the Downing Street ‘Partygate’ investigation”.

The spokesperson added: “He has asked them to take steps to also reassure Londoners by making this explanation to them directly, because he is concerned that the trust and confidence of Londoners in the police is being further eroded by this lack of clarity.”

“The mayor has been clear he cannot and would not intervene in operational decisions, however with the investigation now complete, he has made this request in accordance with the Policing Protocol Order 2011 paragraph 23(g).”

London mayor Sadiq Khan with Boris Johnson

Mr Shapps insisted police did not need to explain why the prime minister escaped a fine for the event.

“I don’t think the police should provide running commentaries, no,” he said.

Mr Shapps also attempted to argue that Mr Johnson had only “popped down” to toast to his former spin doctor, and claimed the prime minister was “mortified” by the latest revelations.

The prime minister was issued with a fixed-penalty notice for a birthday gathering in June 2020.

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