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Tories Want To "Draw A Line" Under Partygate As Police Expand Investigation

3 min read

Small business minister Paul Scully has said he hopes the Met Police will reach a "speedy resolution" to the Downing Street investigation, so that the government can focus instead on the Ukraine conflict.

The Metropolitan Police announced on Monday that they had begun interviewing "key witnesses" after more than 100 questionnaires were sent to to individuals, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about Number 10 parties held during lockdown.

The force said no fixed penalty notices had been issued to anyone contacted, but that as a result of the questionnaires there had been "further individuals" identified who were now being interviewed.

On Tuesday Scully said he hoped the government could "draw a line under it" so they could focus on tackling the cost of living and the Ukraine invasion.

"We all want to bring it to a head, draw a line under it and whatever the Metropolitan Police find, they need to come up to it with a speedy resolution, and if people are found to have been breaking the law then punish them with a fixed penalty notice or whatever it is they are going to do," he told LBC.

"But nonetheless the point does stand that there are so many things going on in the world that are affecting people on a day-to-day basis. That is what we want to be concentrating on. Things like the cost of living issues, things like the conflict in Ukraine."

US President Joe Biden issued a warning overnight that recent accusations from Vladimir Putin that Ukraine has possession of chemical and biological weapons was a "clear sign" he was considering using them himself.

Biden said the Russian leader had his "back against the wall" as his forces continue to suffer heavy losses in Ukraine. 

"They are also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons... That's a clear sign he is considering using both of those," he added. 

"He's already used chemical weapons in the past, and we should be careful of what's about to come."

Scully said the analysis could be correct and warned Putin was becoming "more and more isolated".

"I don't know if that is his intelligence that [Biden] has got that from, but Western intelligence has been very good in predicting what is going on with the conflict. Sometimes it seems western intelligence knows more than Vladimir Putin because he seems to be getting more and more isolated," he said.

"It is so important we continue to support the Ukrainians and indeed we are also making sure we support the Polish against air attacks should that be required as a fellow Nato member. We continue to bring in lethal aid and defence work to the Ukrainians with anti-tank and other support."

The government minister added that the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine would "undoubtedly" be a war crime but insisted the international community should continue to appeal to ordinary Russians to help them "bring an end" to the Kremlin's aggression.

"President Biden and the Prime Minister have been really resolute in making sure that we can take every action with the international community to address those crimes of Vladimir Putin," he said.

"This is Vladimir Putin's war against Ukraine, the Kremlin's war against Ukraine, it is not the Russian people. We have got to make sure we can appeal to the Russian people to bring an end to this."

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