Politics

Met Police given over 300 photographs in Partygate investigation

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Officers want to see who needs to be asked why they attended allegedly Covid rule-busting parties on government premises on eight dates. They range from May 20, 2020 to April 16, 2021, and include the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday bash at No 10.

Some 30 people were at the Cabinet Room event on June 19, 2020, allegedly organised by his wife Carrie.

Commander Catherine Roper said: “We had a bundle of material provided to us just Friday which is well over 500 pieces of paper…and over 300 photographs.” She said officers planned to contact people in a matter of weeks.

The Yard said: “The Metropolitan Police has requested that any information identified as part of the Cabinet Office investigation about these events is not disclosed in detail.This request only applies for the duration of our investigation.”

Detectives must seek accounts from individuals “as free from the influence of others’ recollections as possible”. Officers would also seek to avoid providing details of their investigation in advance to those they contact “to ensure that how people engage with our investigation is not prejudiced, and not a judgment on the individuals who attended”.

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They added: “Having received the documentation from the Cabinet Office…we are now reviewing it at pace to confirm which individuals will need to be contacted.”

If officers believe Covid curbs were broken without a reasonable excuse, a fixed penalty is likely be issued.

The Yard said: “Individuals may decide to dispute the notice. In these circumstances, officers will consider whether to pursue the matter in a magistrates’ court.”

Former director of public prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald claimed the probe was nothing more than a “rather feeble exchange of emails”.

The Yard added: “We do understand that the Met’s action in assessing and responding to these allegations will divide opinion. Police officers must …make carefully considered, difficult decisions.We are committed to completing our investigations proportionately, fairly and impartially.”

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