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British police announced on Tuesday that they were investigating several parties organized in Downing Street and within the senior administration during the various confinements decreed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The events are at the origin of a serious crisis threatening Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson in the hot seat of the British police. The Metropolitan Police in London announced on Tuesday January 25 that they were investigating several parties and receptions organized at 10 Downing Street, the seat of the British government, and within the senior administration during the various confinements against the Covid-19 pandemic, which threw the British Prime Minister in a serious political crisis.
The Metropolitan Police of London (“Met”) was criticized for having been slow to react to the revelations which have followed one another in recent weeks on “garden parties”, farewell parties or birthday parties held at the highest level of power while the British had to drastically restrict their contacts to curb the cases of Covid-19.
During a hearing in front of elected officials in the capital, its leader Cressida Dick announced that the Met was currently investigating a number of events “in Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister and Whitehall, the street which hosts the senior administration, in subject of “potential violations of the rules related to Covid-19”.
She said several other “events” had been investigated but were deemed not relevant to a criminal investigation. “The fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fines will necessarily be issued in every case and for every person involved,” Cressida Dick stressed.
Another internal investigation in parallel
Implicated for a series of parties in Downing Street in full confinement, Boris Johnson, 57, is undergoing his worst crisis since his triumphant accession to power in the summer of 2019.
Targeted by calls for resignation, including in his conservative camp, he has for the moment referred the question to the publication of an internal investigation led by senior civil servant Sue Gray, expected in the days to come.
This investigation “is continuing” and contacts have been made with the police, said the Cabinet Office, the interministerial agency overseeing these investigations, in a press release.
Latest revelation to date: Monday evening, the ITV television channel claimed that Boris Johnson had celebrated his birthday in the presence of relatives and collaborators on the afternoon of June 19, 2020, during the first confinement, when such gatherings were prohibited.
Up to 30 people are said to have attended, including interior designer Lulu Lytle, who was tasked with carrying out the costly renovation of Boris Johnson’s controversially funded Downing Street apartment.
According to a Downing Street spokeswoman, Boris Johnson would have participated “less than ten minutes” in this gathering of his collaborators.
>> To read also on France24.com: BBC in Boris Johnson’s sights amid ‘partygate’ scandal