Met Police told to explain why PM wasn’t fined even though picture shows him drinking at lockdown busting party

The pictures, obtained by ITV news ahead of the full publication of Sue Gray’s report, show Johnson raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020, with bottles of alcohol and party food on the table in front of him.

Boris Johnson

The Metropolitan Police is under growing pressure to explain why Boris Johnson wasn’t fined more than once even as pictures emerged of the prime minister drinking at a Downing Street party during lockdown.

The pictures, obtained by ITV news ahead of the full publication of Sue Gray’s report, show Johnson raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020, with bottles of alcohol and party food on the table in front of him. The gathering took place to mark former spin doctor Lee Cain’s departure from No 10.

The photos showed at least 8 other people in the room at a time when people were banned from social mixing, other than to meet one person outside.

Thus far Johnson has only been fined once, for a birthday gathering in June 2020, with the Met closing its investigation last week, saying that no further action was going to be taken against the prime minister.

The publication of the photos has left many wondering how on earth the Met concluded that Johnson would not be fined for the 13th November gathering.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is among those who have said that the Met has questions to answer.

Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “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.”

He added: “Yesterday was the first time I saw the photograph of Boris Johnson raising a glass, clearly bottles of wine laying around, others with wine in their hand, on a day when he said in the House of Commons… that there wasn’t a party.

“Sue Gray will publish her report this week and of course the prime minister will have to answer for himself, but I think the police should explain why they reached their conclusion and provide that clarity”.

The police watchdog has also been asked to investigate the Met’s handling of the partygate investigation, with Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper writing to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) calling for them to examine the Met’s Operation Hillman inquiry into events in No 10 and Whitehall.

Ms Cooper said: “The Met Police need to explain why Boris Johnson wasn’t fined for this event, despite being pictured in an apparent breach of the rules.

“If anyone else had been pictured at a party like this during lockdown, surely this would have been enough evidence for them to be fined.

“It does seem that there has been one rule for the Prime Minister and another for everyone else.

“The complete lack of transparency in this investigation risks doing huge damage to public trust.”

Barrister Adam Wagner tweeted: “This is 13.11.20 during the 2nd national lockdown

“It was illegal to “participate” in a gathering if that gathering was not reasonably necessary for work.

“Others got FPNs for this gathering so assume police considered it was illegal.

“Why not the PM?”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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