Police to email 50 people in Downing Street party inquiry – BBC.com


The Metropolitan Police will email more than 50 people as part of its inquiry into lockdown parties at Downing Street and Whitehall.
A questionnaire will be sent to those alleged to have been at events on eight dates between May 2020 and April 2021.
It will ask for their account of what happened and "must be answered truthfully", the Met said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie are expected to be among the people being emailed.
Speaking on a visit to Brussels, Mr Johnson said: "That [investigation] process must be completed and I'm looking forward to it being completed, and that's the time to say something on that."
And Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The prime minister has said he will be full and transparent. He will notify [the public] if he is receiving any form of fine et cetera."
The Met Police said its email must be answered in seven days, but being contacted did not mean a fine would always be issued.
Its inquiry, Operation Hillman, is examining 12 gatherings on the eight dates – some of which the PM attended – to see if Covid regulations were broken.
It was launched after an inquiry by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who in her initial findings criticised "failures of leadership and judgement" over the gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall and referred them to police.
Several Tory backbenchers are calling for the prime minister to resign and and some have submitted letters of no confidence.
The Met announced on Wednesday that it would also review its decision not to investigate another event, a Christmas quiz on 15 December 2020, after a picture of Mr Johnson was leaked to the press.
Published by the Daily Mirror, it showed Mr Johnson with three aides, two in tinsel and a Santa hat, with a bottle of sparkling wine.
The Met said it had "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."
The prime minister's former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, tweeted that there were "waaaaay better pics than that floating around", alleging that they included images of gatherings in Mr Johnson's flat.
Detectives investigating the parties are continuing to examine more than 500 documents and 300 images gathered as part of Ms Gray's inquiry.
The Met said it might also contact more people if they were identified as having taken part in an event that potentially breached the regulations.
While being contacted does not necessarily mean a fixed-penalty notice will be issued, the Met said that would "normally" happen where officers believed regulations had been breached without reasonable excuse.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the Labour Party have written to the Met saying they have a duty to investigate Mr Johnson over the funding of his Downing Street flat refurbishment.
They claim he may have breached anti-bribery laws when he asked Tory donor Lord Brownlow in text messages to approve spending on the renovations, and said he would take action on the donor's plan for a Great Exhibition project.
The Met said it was considering the letter but no investigation had yet been opened.
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