Metropolitan Police Have Begun Interviewing Downing Street Partygate Witnesses
Detectives have started interviewing "key witnesses" as part of the Metropolitan Police's investigation into Downing Street parties held during lockdown.
The interviews are in addition to the questionnaires sent to over 100 people about their involvement in the rule-breaking gatherings, the Metropolitan Police said on Monday. Boris Johnson is among the individuals to have been sent a questionnaire.
The Met said it had not yet issued any Fixed Penalty Notices to those allegedely involved in the parties, and that may have to contact more people as further information comes to light.
The announcement represents a major escalation in the Met investigation, though it also suggests that it is still far off being concluded two months after enquiries got underway.
"This investigation involves a significant amount of investigative material; the serving of over 100 questionnaires and the need to individually assess every response," a Met spokesperson said.
"The offences under consideration comprise a number of elements and the legislation itself changed between the event dates. We are progressing the investigation as quickly as possible."
It added that the 100-plus questionnaires were still being assessed alongside all available evidence and that they would be referred to the ACRO Criminal Records Office, which issues fixed penalty notices, if officers find sufficient evidence.
Johnson's alleged involvement in the rule-breaking gatherings posed a major threat to his leadership earlier this year, with numerous Conservative MPs calling for his resignation.
However, his position has been shored up in recent weeks, with many Tory MPs who were highly critical of his role in the 'partygate' scandal saying he must remain in charge to lead the UK's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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