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London police investigate Downing Street lockdown parties

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London police investigate Downing Street lockdown parties

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LONDON — London police said on Tuesday they were investigating the 2020 Downing Street lockdown parties to determine whether British government officials breached coronavirus restrictions, putting further pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Metropolitan Police Service launched an investigation into ‘a number of events’ at Downing Street because they met the force’s criteria to investigate the ‘most serious and flagrant’ breaches of COVID-19 rules , Commissioner Cressida Dick told the Assembly in capital London. local government council.

Johnson is facing calls to resign amid revelations that he and his staff attended a series of parties in the spring and winter of 2020 when most social gatherings were banned across England, forcing the average citizens to miss weddings, funerals and birthdays when friends and relatives died alone. in the hospital. The rallies are already being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray whose report, due this week, will be crucial in determining whether Johnson can stay in power.

Johnson apologized for attending a garden party at his Downing Street offices in May 2020, but said he considered it a work gathering which fell under social distancing rules in force in the time.

In the latest revelation, ITV News reported on Monday evening that Johnson attended a birthday party at his Downing Street office and later hosted friends at his upstairs official residence in June 2020. His office denied that the gathering had broken lockdown rules, saying the Prime Minister had welcomed a small number of family members outside, which was in line with the rules at the time.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed the police investigation.

“The public rightly expects the police to uphold the law without fear or favour, no matter who it involves, and I have been clear that members of the public should be able to expect the standards the highest of all, including the prime minister and those around him,” Khan said in a statement. “No one is above the law. There cannot be one rule for the government and another for everyone else.”

Police have previously come under fire for suggesting they would not investigate the ‘partygate’ scandal because they do not systematically investigate historic breaches of coronavirus regulations.

But Dick told the assembly that an investigation was warranted in this case because there is evidence that those involved knew or should have known that what they were doing was illegal, failing to investigate “would significantly undermine the legitimacy of the law”, and there appears to be no reasonable defense for the conduct.

“So in cases where those criteria were met, the guidelines suggested that we should potentially investigate further and end up giving people tickets,” she said.

London police investigate Downing Street lockdown parties

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