Cressida Dick says force have received NO complaints over No10 party
Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says force have received NO complaints over Downing Street Christmas party but will look into it if one is made
- PM and No10 staff accused of breaking Covid rules by hosting festive gatherings
- Millions of families were separated amid rising case numbers last Christmas
- But Dame Cressida told LBC callers today the Met isn’t investigating the incident
Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force have received no complaints over last year’s Downing Street Christmas party – but will look into it if one is made.
The Prime Minister and his staff at No10 are accused of breaking Covid rules by hosting three festive gatherings in 2020.
On November 27, Mr Johnson is said to have given a speech at a packed leaving do for a senior aide.
At the time Britain was in the grip of the second lockdown, with all indoor social gatherings banned unless they involved a single household bubble.
Then, on December 18, Downing Street staffers apparently held their own festive party featuring a Christmas quiz and Secret Santa. At that point, London was subject to Tier 3 restrictions, with indoor gatherings outlawed and the rule of six outside.
At each of the two parties there were 40 or 50 people crammed ‘cheek by jowl’ into a medium sized room, according to the Daily Mirror.
A source also claimed there was a third, smaller gathering on November 13 – the night Dominic Cummings walked out.
Despite widespread outcry – as millions of families were kept apart amid rising case numbers last year – the Met chief told a phone-in on LBC radio that her force is not investigating the incident.
The Prime Minister and his staff at No10 are accused of breaking Covid rules by hosting three festive gatherings in 2020
Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force have received no complaints over last year’s Downing Street Christmas party – but will look into it if one is made
When did the ‘parties’ take place and what were the Covid rules at the time?
November 27 – Mr Johnson reportedly gives a speech at a packed leaving do for a ‘senior aide’. ’40 or 50 people’ were present.
RULES: All indoor gatherings banned unless they involved a single household bubble.
December 18 – Downing Street staffers allegedly hold their own festive party, with the PM not in attendance. Group size is also given as 40 to 50.
RULES: Tier 3 restrictions banning indoor social gatherings. The rules specifically stated ‘you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity’.
November 13 – Reports of a third, smaller gathering. This would have also coincided with the second lockdown.
Responding to a caller, Dame Cressida said: ‘You asked if we are investigating – the answer to that is no. 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, she said: ‘If I get a letter, I’ll read a letter.’
Pressed further, she said: ‘This is the Met. We are professional. We are impartial. We act without fear or favour. We follow evidence. That’s what we do.’
It comes after Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup was laughed at and heckled as she scrambled to defend Number 10’s Christmas party on Question Time last night.
The Tory MP was repeatedly pressed by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce on whether there was a festive gathering while London was in Tier Three last year.
She labelled the claims as ‘rumour and hearsay’, adding: ‘It’s quite clear that all guidance was followed whether it was business meetings or whatever.’
The discussion came about after an audience member recalled being ‘stuck’ in Weston-super-mare last Christmas and unable to see her parents in London.
An audience member began: ‘This time last year, my parents are from south London, so we couldn’t go see them. They both had Covid – we followed the guidance, we did what we were told.
‘I’m stuck in Weston-super-mare, mum and dad are at home in South Norwood. Then you hear “they’re having Christmas parties while we are suffering?”
‘It makes me sick. It really does, it makes me really upset.’
The public health minister replied: ‘Well I respect that people put up with a lot over the last 20 months. Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen.’
After being questioned by BBC host Bruce over the Christmas party in particular, she continued: ‘Well the Prime Minister said quite clearly on Wednesday at PMQs that all guidance was followed.’
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup was repeatedly pressed by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce on whether there was a festive gathering in No 10 while London was in Tier Three last year
At one point Bruce, above, asked the audience who wanted to know whether there was a Christmas party, to which nearly everyone raised their hand
The audience and panel members could then be heard erupting into laughter, before Bruce said: ‘That wasn’t the question that was asked, which I think is why everyone is laughing Maggie.
‘You might as well put it straight because we’ve got you here now. So was there a Christmas party or wasn’t there?’
Ms Throup responded: ‘I wasn’t there’, to which Bruce said: ‘I’m sure you were briefed before you came on Maggie.’
Earlier, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman did not deny the gathering had taken place but he said: ‘At all stages the rules have been followed.’
The PM’s press secretary added: ‘We don’t recognise this account, as we’ve said Covid rules have been followed at all times.’
Asked which parts of the report were being denied, she said: ‘I’m not going to get into individual aspects of speculation.’
Separately, a spokesman described as ‘total nonsense’ claims Mr and Mrs Johnson had held parties in their private flat.
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