The Metropolitan Police has not received any complaints about an alleged party in Downing Street last year when indoor socialising was banned under COVID restrictions, the force’s commissioner has said.
It has been reported this week that a large party was held on 18 December last year where around “40 or 50” people were crammed “cheek by jowl” in a room in Number 10.
Just days earlier, London had been put into Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions, which prevented mixing indoors with people not in your household.
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The Daily Mirror reported the event as a “festive bash”, but one government aide said it was convened to say goodbye to a colleague working in Downing Street who was moving to a new role elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Sky News has reported that a number of parties were held in Downing Street in the run-up to Christmas last year while indoor mixing was banned in London.
Downing Street has insisted that no restrictions were breached during the period and that “COVID rules have been followed at all times”.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, the most senior civil servant, asking whether he will consider investigating the allegations of gatherings being held in Downing Street last year.
She has also asked if he will consider referring a breach of COVID regulations to the Met Police.
However, Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick told LBC Radio on Friday that she was not aware of any complaints being received to date.
“You asked if we are investigating – the answer to that is no,” she told a caller to a phone-in show.
“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 about the allegations, she said: “If I get a letter, I’ll read a letter, of course I will.”
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Following Dame Cressida’s radio comments, Labour MP and former shadow minister Barry Gardiner wrote to the commissioner.
“I was surprised to hear you say that the Metropolitan Police were not currently investigating the alleged party,” he wrote in a letter.
“If these events did take place, it implies that there is one rule for the government and another for everyone else.
“I believe your officers should investigate the matter further to establish the facts and to see if any laws might have been broken.
“I hope you agree that no one is above the law and your service needs to maintain public confidence that COVID rules apply equally to all people.”
Asked whether there would be a Christmas party at Number 10 this year, the prime minister’s official spokesman on Friday said there would “continue to be festive events” in the run-up to 25 December.
But the spokesman added any staff party would be a “private event” that would not be publicly announced.
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