The Met has launched a criminal investigation into allegations of lockdown-busting gatherings on the government estate (Pictures: EPA/Twitter)
Boris Johnson is facing the embarrassing prospect of being interviewed under police caution over ‘partygate’.
The prime minister may well have to speak to detectives working on the Metropolitan Police investigation into gatherings in Whitehall during lockdown.
Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced the probe yesterday after being given advanced sight of the outline findings from a Cabinet Office probe into the allegations.
The news the Met has decided to launch a criminal investigation suggests Sue Gray and her team may have uncovered evidence of law-breaking.
Mr Johnson’s spokesperson made it clear he would ‘fully cooperate’ with the investigation, signalling he is willing to be interviewed.
If that happens, he will become the first sitting prime minister to be interviewed by detectives since Sir Tony Blair in 2006.
In that instance, Sir Tony was interviewed as a witness over the cash for access scandal – but Mr Johnson may be interviewed as a suspect under caution if he is personally thought to have broken lockdown rules.
The Cabinet Office probe could be published as soon as today but questions will continue for as long as the Met investigation does (Picture: AP)
A senior policing figure told The Times: ‘If Sue Gray believes he was at a function which she fears has broken Covid rules, they will have to interview him.
‘In the event he is a suspect, he has to be given a chance to present his defence, and under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act a formal interview like that must be done under caution.’
There were reports at the time that Sir Tony could resign from Number 10 if interviewed under caution.
It is thought Mr Johnson would become the first ever prime minister to be interviewed under caution, a process which involves rights being read and usually a legal representative present.
Downing Street is holding its breath for the publication of the Sue Gray report, which could come as soon as today.
Conflicting reports emerged on Tuesday around what the Met investigation meant for the timeline of the first investigation, with the Cabinet Office initially suggesting their work would continue but publication could be delayed.
But by the end of the day, the Met had reportedly made clear they had no objection to the report being released, paving the way for the Cabinet Office to submit it to Downing Street.
It’s unclear if Number 10 was in receipt of the report as of last night but it could theoretically be released to the public within a few hours of being shown to the PM.
According to Sky News, Sue Gray has been handed photos of alleged parties in Downing Street as part of her investigation.
They include an image of ‘Boris Johnson and others close together with wine bottles’, it has been reported.
The PM has not responded in length to the Met development but said briefly in the Commons yesterday ‘I believe this will help to give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters’.
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Source Here: metro.co.uk