- PM and number 10 staff accused of breaking Kovid rules by hosting festive celebrations
- Millions of families were separated last Christmas amid rising number of cases
- But Dame Cressida told LBC callers today that the Met is not investigating the incident
Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force has not received any complaints at last year’s Downing Street Christmas party – but will look into if any are made.
Number 10 is accusing the Prime Minister and his staff of breaking Covid rules by hosting three festive gatherings in 2020.
On 27 November, Mr Johnson is said to have delivered a packed Leaving Do speech for a senior aide.
While Britain was in the grip of a second lockdown, all indoor social gatherings were banned unless they contained a single domestic bubble.
Then, on 18 December, Downing Street employees held their own festive party featuring a Christmas quiz and Secret Santa. At the time, London was subject to Tier 3 restrictions, with indoor gatherings outlawed and a rule of six outside.
There were 40 or 50 people in each of the two parties, who coded ‘cheek by jowl’ in a medium-sized room, according to daily Mirror,
A source also claimed that a third, smaller gathering took place on November 13 – the night Dominic Cummings moved out.
Despite widespread outcry – as millions of families were placed in isolation amid a rising number of cases last year – the weather chief told a phone-in on LBC radio that his force was not investigating the incident.
Number 10 prime minister and his staff are accused of breaking covid rules by hosting three festivities in 2020
Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force has received no complaints at last year’s Downing Street Christmas party – but will see if one is made
When did the ‘parties’ happen and what were the rules of Covid at that time?
November 27 – Mr Johnson reportedly delivers speech in a packed living do to a ‘senior aide’. ’40 or 50 people’ were present.
Rules: All indoor gatherings were banned, unless they involved a single domestic bubble.
December 18 – Downing Street employees reportedly hold their own celebration party, which does not attend the PM. The group size is also given as 40 to 50.
Rules: Tier 3 restrictions ban indoor social gatherings. The rules specifically state that ‘you must not serve a Christmas luncheon or party where it is primarily a social activity’.
November 13 – Report of a third, smaller assembly. It would also coincide with the second lockdown.
Responding to a caller, Dame Cressida said: ‘You asked if we were investigating – the answer is no. And, as far as I know, we haven’t received any complaints and so I can’t really comment on what happened or didn’t happen there.’
Asked what would happen if she received a letter, she said: ‘If I get a letter, I will read a letter.’
Pressed further, he said: ‘This is the met. We are professionals. We are fair. We act without any fear or favour. We follow the evidence. that’s what we do.’
It comes as Vaccines Minister Maggie Thrope laughed and scrambled to defend Number 10’s Christmas party at Question Hour last night.
The Tory MP has been repeatedly pressured by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce over whether the festivities were held during last year’s Tier Three event in London.
Terming the claims as ‘rumours and rumours’, he said: ‘It is quite clear that all the guidance was followed be it business meetings or whatever.’
The discussion took place when a member of the audience recalled that last Christmas Weston was ‘stuck’ at Super-Mare and unable to see his parents in London.
An audience member began: ‘This time last year, my parents are from South London, so we couldn’t go to see them. They both had covid – we followed the guidance, we did what we were told.
‘I’m stuck in Weston-super-mare, mom and dad are at home in South Norwood. Then you hear “They’re having Christmas parties while we’re suffering?”
‘it makes me sick. It really does, it really bothers me.’
The public health minister replied: ‘Well, I respect that people have done a lot in the last 20 months. No one could have predicted what was going to happen.
Asked specifically about the Christmas party by BBC host Bruce, he continued: ‘By the way, the Prime Minister clearly stated in the PMQ on Wednesday that all guidance was followed.’
Vaccine minister Maggie Throp was repeatedly pressured by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce over whether there was a festive gathering at number 10, while London was in tier three last year.
At one point above, Bruce asked the audience who wanted to know if there was a Christmas party, to which almost everyone raised their hands.
The audience and panel members could then be heard bursting into laughter, before Bruce said: ‘This was not the question that was asked, which I think is making everyone laugh at Maggie.
‘You can even say it directly because now we have brought you here. So was there a Christmas party or not?’
Ms Throp replied: ‘I wasn’t there’, to which Bruce added: ‘I’m sure you were informed before Maggie came on.’
Earlier, the prime minister’s official spokesman did not deny that the gathering took place, but said: ‘Rules have been followed at all stages’.
PM’s press secretary said: ‘We do not recognize this account, as we have said that the rules of Kovid have been followed at all times.’
Asked which parts of the report are being denied, she said: “I will not go into the personal aspects of speculation.”
Separately, a spokesperson claimed what described as ‘total nonsense’ that Mr and Mrs Johnson had parties at their private flat.