Met Police ‘considering’ complaints that Downing Street Christmas parties broke COVID rules

Politics

Scotland Yard is “considering” complaints from two Labour MPs about Christmas parties held in Downing Street last year that allegedly broke coronavirus regulations.

The Metropolitan Police said that while it does not routinely look into “retrospective breaches of the COVID-19 regulations”, it would “consider the correspondence received”.

Backbenchers Neil Coyle and Barry Gardiner have asked officers to investigate two gatherings held in Number 10 at a time when such events were banned.

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Mr Coyle said the “sense of outrage from constituents is palpable” – given that they had followed the rules while “those responsible for devising and enforcing them” were allegedly breaking them.

Mr Gardiner said: “If these events did take place, it implies that there is one rule for the government and another for everyone else.”

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

Downing Street has insisted that no rules were broken during the period, while Boris Johnson has rejected the opportunity to give an explanation.

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The controversy began on Wednesday, when the Daily Mirror reported that the prime minister gave a speech at a packed leaving-do for a senior aide last November.

At the time, the country was in a second lockdown.

The newspaper added that members of Mr Johnson’s team later held their own festive party in the days before Christmas, while London was under Tier 3 restrictions.

In both cases, 40 or 50 people were crammed “cheek by jowl” into a medium-sized room in No 10, the paper said.

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Sky News understands that a number of parties were held in the building in the run-up to Christmas last year, while indoor mixing was banned.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting and has received correspondence relating to alleged breaches of the health protection regulations at a government building on two dates in November and December 2020.

“It is our policy not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the COVID-19 regulations; we will however consider the correspondence received.”

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