A day after the resignation of the head of the London Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, having lost the confidence of London's mayor, all eyes are again set on the ongoing investigation into Partygate, which could eventually cost prime minister Boris Johnson his post.
On Friday PM Johnson received a legal questionnaire from the police looking into the lockdown-defying parties held in his Downing Street office, his spokesperson said Friday. The latest move comes amid mounting pressure on Johnson from the opposition Labour Party and from the ranks of his own Conservatives over the alleged parties.
We can confirm the Prime Minister has received a questionnaire from the Metropolitan Police. He will respond as required, Johnson's spokesperson said.
The prime minister will have seven days to respond to the email. The Met police have reportedly contacted 50 people who took part in the alleged lockdown-defying parties. Police are investigating twelve parties in total held at No. 10 Downing Street between 2020 and 2021.
In the questionnaire, Johnson and the other reported guests must answer questions about their whereabouts and activities during the alcohol-fueled events. Leaked pictures have shown staff dining and drinking in Downing gardens and even one of Johnson with a birthday cake in his honor from June 2020.
The prime minister could be given a fine if he is unable to provide credible reasons why the events were held despite strict restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. The revelations about the parties have erupted into a scandal, dubbed Partygate by the British press. Johnson has refused to step down, despite calls from the opposition for him to do so, and from a growing number of fellow Tories.
Johnson has apologized for his actions after an official inquiry led by senior civil servant Sue Gray, and reshuffled his cabinet. Revelations of the parties have sparked widespread public anger as well, as the government gatherings happened during times when the greater public in the UK were even barred from attending funerals of loved ones who had died from COVID 19.
On Thursday Commissioner Dick announced she was resigning following a string of controversies that undermined public confidence in the force and led to a fall out with Mayor Sadiq Khan. The London Mayor had recently threatened to oust Dick from her role, saying she wasn’t doing enough to reform the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police force, and tackle growing accusations of misogyny and racism within her ranks.
Khan said late Thursday it was clear the only way to overhaul the force urgently was to have “new leadership right at the top.”
Dick, who has headed the force since 2017 and is the first woman to lead Scotland Yard, said it was with “huge sadness” that it has become clear that Khan “no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue.”
“He has left me no choice but to step aside as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service,” she said in a statement. Dick, 61, added that she will stay in her role for a short period to ensure the force’s stability while a replacement is found.