The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that it will not investigate allegations of a party at Downing Street due to an “absence of evidence”.
Scotland Yard said officers will not “commence an investigation at this time” in line with its “policy not to investigate retrospective breaches” of coronavirus rules.
A Met statement acknowledged it had received “a significant amount of correspondence” relating to the alleged breaches in the run up to Christmas last year but said they do not “provide evidence of a breach” of Covid rules.
“Based on the absence of evidence and in line with our policy not to investigate retrospective breaches of such regulations, the Met will not commence an investigation at this time,” it added. “The Met has had discussions with the Cabinet Office in relation to the investigation by the Cabinet Secretary. If any evidence is found as a result of that investigation, it will be passed to the Met for further consideration.”
It comes after ITV News revealed senior Downing Street staff joking about holding a Christmas party in Number 10 just four days after the event is alleged to have taken place last December. In the leaked video, staff can be heard laughing and making references to “cheese and wine”, while Boris Johnson’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton remarked there was “definitely no social distancing.”
Speaking through tears on Wednesday, Ms Stratton gave a statement to broadcasters saying she would "regret those remarks for the rest of my days", as she confirmed she had quit as an adviser to the prime minister.As he was pressed by journalists on the incident, Boris Johnson said there was “no excuse” for the video showing No 10 aides joking about the alleged lockdown party but added that Ms Stratton had been a “fine colleague”.
He said that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case’s investigation will look into “what took place on December 18” rather than other alleged parties. “As for other events, dates … as far as I’m aware, to the best of my knowledge we have followed the rules throughout,” he said. “Indeed, as far as I’m aware, the rules were followed on December 18 as well.”
The wrangle over the alleged party in Downing Street last December has damaged the Conservative Party, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said.
He said that Mr Johnson should step down as Prime Minister if he misled parliament over the party.