Partygate: The Inside Story - Met urged to open fresh probe in wake of ITV News investigation
In podcast Partygate: The Inside Story, ITV News’s UK Editor Paul Brand unveils exclusive interviews and never-before-aired details of our investigation into the bombshell political scandal that rocked Boris Johnson’s government.
The seven-part series explores whether the former prime minister knowingly misled MPs over Downing Street's illegal parties during the Covid pandemic.
London Assembly Police and Crime Committee deputy chair, Unmesh Desai, has now written to Met Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, to urge him to open a fresh investigation in light of the fresh allegations reported by ITV News.
The allegations aired by ITV News include that Mr Johnson is claimed to have joked to Downing Street staff that “this is the most unsocially distanced party in the UK right now” at a leaving do held during the pandemic.
Mr Johnson was fined as part of a police investigation into gatherings held at No10 while social distancing restrictions were in place.
However, he was fined for attending his own birthday party in the Cabinet Room in June 2020, rather than for the alleged party the ITV source mentions.
What did Boris Johnson really know about Downing Street’s notorious parties? With fresh revelations from our sources, in their own words, listen to the definitive behind-closed-doors story of one of the biggest scandals of our era.
Whistleblowers also told our podcast staff “corroborated their stories” before filling out Met Police questionnaires about their potential involvement in rule-breaking gatherings.
Our podcast also reports that only half of the parties that occurred were ever investigated by Sue Gray, the senior Cabinet Office official who investigated the partygate claims, or probed by the Met.
In the letter seen by ITV News, Mr Desai writes to the top Met official: "You will no doubt be aware of the recent reporting by ITV News of new evidence that directly contradicts the former Prime Minister’s claim that he was not aware of any rule breaking at 10 Downing Street.
"There are also reports of evidence demonstrating rule breaking being destroyed by staffers, and that drug use has been detected in toilets on the premises."
"I am writing to you because I believe that this issue is fundamental to restoring the trust and confidence of Londoners in the Metropolitan Police.
"Londoners must be certain that the MPS works without fear or favour, and that behaviour that breaks the law in our city must be fully and comprehensively investigated - irrespective of where it takes place.
"With the House Privileges Committee’s report drawing ever closer, this will only take on a clearer focus in the eyes of the public.
"I have raised the apparent inconsistency in how the MPS have approached the investigation with your predecessors - particularly regarding why the former Prime Minister was issued with only one fixed penalty notice for his birthday party, but not for the other events, including the leaving drinks where there is photographic evidence of him holding a glass of champagne and making a toast.
"It has also been reported that the questionnaires sent by the police to those under investigation were easily navigated by staffers at 10 Downing Street, who were able to corroborate stories.
"I am therefore writing to ask you whether you are taking new information into account when making a decision regarding the reopening of the investigation."
Mr Johnson faced no further action other than a £50 fine when the Met closed its inquiry last May, after the force had issued 126 fines for lockdown breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall.
His fine was £100 reduced to £50 because he paid it within 14 days.
He is due to appear before the Commons Privileges Committee next month over comments he made to MPs from the despatch box about partygate.The Met has declined to comment on the request made in the letter.
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