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03 December 2021

Met chief ‘unaware’ of any complaints over No 10 Christmas party

03 December 2021

The Metropolitan Police have not received any complaints related to a Downing Street party alleged to have taken place last Christmas, its Commissioner has said.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has asked the country’s most senior civil servant if he is planning to call in the police over allegations that gatherings were held in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place.

But Dame Cressida Dick said on Friday that she is not aware of any complaints being received to date.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted any events held at No 10 were ‘in accordance with the rules’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

She was asked during a phone-in on LBC radio whether her force is investigating one of the reported events, said to have taken place last December.

Responding to a caller, Dame Cressida said: “You asked if we are investigating – the answer to that is no. And, as far as I’m aware, we have had no complaints and therefore I really can’t comment on what did or didn’t happen there.”

Asked what would happen if she received a letter, she said: “If I get a letter, I’ll read a letter.”

Pressed further, she said: “This is the Met. We are professional. We are impartial. We act without fear or favour. We follow evidence. That’s what we do.”

Pressure has continued to mount on No 10 after the Daily Mirror reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a speech at a packed leaving do for a senior aide last November when the country was in the midst of the second coronavirus lockdown.

The newspaper said members of his team then held their own festive party days before Christmas, while London was under Tier 3 restrictions.

In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case concerning the reports, Ms Rayner said “the guidance from central Government was very clear that large gatherings and parties were explicitly forbidden”.

She asked if Mr Case was considering referring the matter to the Metropolitan Police, and whether he would be investigating the use of Government property for the gatherings.

She also insinuated it could be a breach of the ministerial code.

Meanwhile, Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said he has not had conversations with people in the know to establish further details of the alleged gathering.

Asked on Friday if he has spoken to people who may have information about the nature of the reported event, Mr Dowden told BBC Breakfast: “I have not been having conversations about what may or may not have happened over a year ago.”

He added: “My focus has not been on having conversations about what may or may not have happened over a year ago in Downing Street.

“I have, however, been assured by what the Prime Minister has said, which is that the rules at all times were obeyed in Downing Street.”

The Prime Minister has said any events held at No 10 were “in accordance with the rules”.

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