Met Police considering complaints that No 10 Christmas parties broke Covid rules

Metropolitan Police is considering complaints that Boris Johnson and his staff may have broken coronavirus rules with parties at Downing Street last Christmas.

The force said that it was “aware of widespread reporting and has received correspondence” relating to alleged breaches of health regulations on two dates in November and December last year.

“It is our policy not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations; we will however consider the correspondence received,” Scotland Yard said in a statement on Saturday.

The prime minister has not denied the events took place but said no rules were broken – although he has repeatedly refused to explain how that could be the case.

Labour backbenchers Neil Coyle and Barry Gardiner had each written to Scotland Yard asking police to investigate reports in the Daily Mirror that two parties were held in the run-up to last Christmas – at a time when such gatherings were banned.

In the first instance, Mr Johnson is alleged to have given a speech at a packed leaving-do for a senior aide during England’s second lockdown, last November.

Members of his team then held their own festive party in the days before Christmas, while London was under Tier 3 restrictions, according to the paper.

Both occasions allegedly saw 40 or 50 people crammed “cheek by jowl” into a medium-sized room in No 10.

In his letter to the police, Mr Coyle said: “The sense of outrage from constituents is palpable that they followed the rules while those responsible for devising and enforcing them were breaching them at the top of government.

“The prime minister has been questioned on this and has replied that ‘no Covid rules were broken’ but from reading the guidance I believe even holding these events was a breach of the rules at the time.”

In his letter, Mr Gardiner expressed surprise that when Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was interviewed on LBC on Friday, she said the force was not investigating the matter as she had not received correspondence on it.

“If these events did take place, it implies that there is one rule for the government and another for everyone else,” he said. “I believe your officers should investigate the matter further to establish the facts and to see if any laws might have been broken.”

Separately, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to ask whether he had considered referring the matter to the Met.

Additional reporting by PA

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