Met admits not sending questionnaires to Boris Johnson at Partygate rallies | Metropolitan Police

Anger over the Partygate scandal was reignited after Scotland Yard confirmed it had not sent Boris Johnson questionnaires before deciding not to fine him for attending two Downing lockdown rallies Street.

Fines have been imposed on other participants in rallies in 2020, including one at No 10 on November 13, where the Prime Minister gave a leaving speech for his outgoing director of communications, Lee Cain, and another at the Cabinet Office on December 17.

Downing Street previously informed that Johnson had not received questionnaires from the police regarding certain lockdown events. But Monday’s revelation is believed to be the first time the Metropolitan Police has admitted this, under details released as part of a legal challenge.

The Good Law Project (GLP), a non-profit campaign group which has brought a judicial review into accusations that the Met failed to fully investigate Johnson’s attendance at the parties, said: ‘The actions of the Met have raised serious concerns about the deference with which they do policing in office.

“We do not believe the Met’s response is consistent with its legal duty of candor. And we certainly don’t think that’s consistent with what the Met has recognized elsewhere, it’s their public duty to maintain public confidence in the police.

The group is acting in concert with Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat peer and former senior police officer.

In a document summarizing the Met’s response to the challenge, released by the GLP, the force said it could confirm that no questionnaire had been sent to Johnson for the two 2020 rallies. He confirmed that he had sent one. regarding a gathering held on January 14, 2021.

Johnson received a single £50 fine in April for breaking Covid laws at a birthday party thrown for him in June 2020.

In its response to the GLP, Scotland Yard said investigators reviewed hundreds of documents including emails, diary entries, witness statements and CCTV footage.

Questionnaires were a useful part of the investigation, but if the answers were clear from other evidence, “there wasn’t much to be gained” by sending one to a particular person just to that it confirms what was already known, and there was no obligation to send one, it was said.

The Met said Operation Hillman, the investigation into Partygate, was over and would not comment on any action taken during the investigation.

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There was an angry reaction from former officials involved in the police investigation, including one who pointed out that Rishi Sunak had received a fixed penalty notice for his attendance at the end of the birthday party. of Johnson, into which the then Chancellor is said to have wandered as he prepared for another meeting.

Jo Maugham, director of the GLP, said: “Johnson is not going to be Prime Minister for very long. But, to me, it’s still about what it’s always been about: trust in the police and the rule of law. Seventy-two percent of voters think there is one law for the rich and one for the poor. Why isn’t the Met responding to this perception? Why don’t they just say what happened?

No 10 declined to comment, referring questions to Scotland Yard.

Sara H. Byrd