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Met Police To Review Decision Not To Look Into Downing Street Festive "Quiz"

Boris Johnson leaving Downing Street.

3 min read

The Metropolitan Police have said they will review the decision not to investigate a Christmas quiz held at Downing Street on 15 December 2020 after photos emerged of Boris Johnson at the event.

It comes after a photograph, published by the Mirror today, shows Johnson sitting alongside staff with an open bottle of wine on the table.

The event is not among the number of events currently being investigated by the Met, who are looking into potential breaches of coronavirus restrictions at the reported parties.

However, the force confirmed on Wednesday that this decision would be reconsidered in light of the latest image.

"The MPS previously assessed this event and determined that on the basis of the evidence available at that time, it did not meet the threshold for criminal investigation. That assessment is now being reviewed," it said in a statement.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is looking into the string of gatherings held in Downing Street while lockdown restrictions were in force, said in an update last week that she could not provide any further information on specific events while the police investigation was taking place. Johnson has said he would provide the information Gray hands over to him in full, once the Met have finished their inquiry.

In the picture published today, the Prime Minister stands alongside a bottle of what looks like prosecco and a bag of open crisps. One member of staff sitting at the table next to Johnson is wearing tinsel around their neck. Another is wearing a santa hat. 

The Prime Minister's spokesperson described the festive scene depicted as "a virutal quiz" and would not comment on whether police had received this image, and why the event was not included in their investigation.

"As Sue Gray said in her report, she was unable to set out the details of the events that the Met are not looking into, but as the Prime Minister repeated today, as soon as the inquiries are over, we will publish in full what Sue Gray provides us with."

At the time that the photograph was taken, London was in Tier 2 Covid restrictions. This meant there were indoor social mixing between two or more people from different households was prohibited. 

Official guidance also stated: "You must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier."

The Prime Minister has previously said that he had broken no rules. Barrister Adam Wagner said the event should be investigated by the Met. 

Johnson's spokesperson said that Gray had investigated the event on 15 December, but was not able to comment on whether the photograph had gone to the Met Police. 

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:  "These new images confirm what we already know – Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister. 

"The Met Police must add this to the long list of rule-breaking parties to investigate without delay."

Additional reporting by Eleanor Langford.

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