Britain: PM Johnson receives lockdown parties questionnaire
London – Boris Johnson has received a questionnaire from the Metropolitan Police as part of the inquiry into parties at Downing Street and Whitehall during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns.
A No. 10 spokesperson confirmed that the prime minister had been contacted by the police and said he would “respond as required”.
Police are sending the questionnaire by email to more than 50 people.
The Met said it will ask what happened and “must be answered truthfully”.
The force said on Wednesday its email must be answered in seven days, but being contacted does not mean a fine would always be issued.
The questionnaires ask for an account and explanation of the recipient’s participation and have formal legal status.
Both Johnson and his wife Carrie were expected to be among those emailed, although No. 10 has not said if Mrs Johnson has received one.
The inquiry, Operation Hillman, is examining 12 gatherings on eight dates – some of which the PM has already said he attended – to see if COVID-19 regulations were broken.
The initial findings of an inquiry by senior civil servant Sue Gray criticised “failures of leadership and judgement” over the gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Detectives investigating the parties have been handed more than 500 documents and 300 images gathered as part of Gray’s inquiry.
Of the dates being investigated by the police, Johnson is known to have been present at three:
- 20 May 2020 in the Downing Street garden
- 19 June 2020 in the Cabinet Room, on his birthday
- 13 November 2020. on the departure of a special adviser
The Met has said it would review a decision not to investigate a Christmas quiz at No 10 after a picture of the prime minister was leaked to the press showing him next to a bottle of fizzy wine.
The prime minister has come under pressure over the allegations of parties during lockdowns, with several Tory backbenchers calling for him to resign and submitting letters of no confidence in his leadership.
Business minister Lord Callanan told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions the prime minister should continue in his role and would have his support even if he received a fixed penalty notice.
Amid the fallout from the row five Downing Street aides have resigned, with Johnson promising MPs he would shake up his No. 10 team as a result. (BBC)