London Mayor Sadiq Khan asks Met Police boss to explain partygate decision after new images emerge

There were at least eight other people in the room at the November 13 2020 gathering, at a time when people were banned from social mixing Credit: ITV News

The mayor of London has formally asked the Metropolitan Police to explain its conclusion in the Downing Street partygate investigation as newly released images show the prime minister drinking at a party during national lockdown that he was not fined for.

The force's £460,00 Operation Hillman inquiry dealt one fine to Boris Johnson, for attending his 56th birthday celebration in June 2020. Mr Johnson was told last week that he would face no further action over other lockdown-busting gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall.

However, new pictures obtained by ITV News this week show the 57-year-old drinking with several colleagues at his former spin doctor's leaving party on November 13 - eight days into a strict national lockdown that banned people from socialising indoors with anyone from outside their household.

Sadiq Khan wrote to Sir Stephen House, the acting head of the Metropolitan Police, on Tuesday to seek answers about the Met’s decisions in individual cases in the Downing Street probe.

Sadiq Khan, Grant Shapps and Boris Johnson pictured together last week

A spokeswoman for Mr Khan said: “Sadiq has today written to the acting Commissioner of the Met 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.

“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.”

Mr Johnson told the Commons in December last year that a party had not taken place on that date.

December 8, 2021: Boris Johnson denies party took place:

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it looked to him like Mr Johnson made a brief appearance at the event.

“I think they are disappointing, it makes me angry to see them," he said of the images on Tuesday. "It looks to me he was asked to go and thank a member of staff who was leaving, raises a glass to them and, I imagine, comes in and out pretty quick, which is presumably why the police have not issued a fixed-penalty notice to the prime minister for that event".

The Met has also been asked to consider a Liberal Democrat complaint about its handling of the partygate investigation.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper had called for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate, but the complaint has been referred to the Met.

The IOPC told her the Met must decide whether to formally record the complaint, with a response from the Directorate of Professional Standards expected within 15 working days.

The force has issued 126 FPNs to 83 people involved in a series of events in Downing Street and Whitehall, including on November 13 2020. The 53 fixed penalty notices were issued to 35 men and 73 FPNs to 48 women.

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