> Metropolitan Police admits it did not send questionnaire to Boris Johnson about two lockdown parties

Metropolitan Police admits it did not send questionnaire to Boris Johnson about two lockdown parties

Boris Johnson was not sent a questionnaire by the Metropolitan Police before it decided not to fine him for attending two lockdown gatherings, it has been confirmed.

The capital’s police force issued fines to other attendees at the two events in November 2020 and December 2020 but not to the prime minister.

The Independent and other media outlets reported in May this year that Mr Johnson had not been included in a new round of partygate fines and not sent a questionnaire.

This was despite the prime minister giving speeches at both of the wine-fuelled gatherings, which saw officials handed fixed-penalty notices.

The decision not to fine the outgoing PM is now subject to a legal challenge by lawyers at the Good Law Project campaign group.

In its legal response the Met confirmed on the record that it had not issued questionnaires to Mr Johnson for the two events, which featured alcohol, photographic evidence, and speeches.

“The Defendant can confirm that he did not send a questionnaire to the Prime Minister in respect of the gathering on 13 November 2020 and 17 December 2020,” the response says.

The force claimed that contrary to the lawyers’ claims, questionnaires were not “the defendant’s primary method of investigation” and that it was under no duty to send them to Mr Johnson if “the answers to those questions were clear from other evidence”.

In its written evidence the force defended the idea that the gatherings had “phases” some of which were reasonably necessary for work purposes and attendance of which did not count as a criminal offence – while others were not necessary and did.

A spokesperson for the Good Law Project said: “Rishi Sunak’s Partygate fine suggests that passing through a gathering en route to a meeting doesn’t prevent you from being fined, so it’s far from clear how turning up to a gathering deliberately, raising a toast and encouraging the revels to continue can be compliant with the law.

“We don’t think the Met’s response is consistent with their legal duty of candour. And we certainly don’t think it’s consistent with what the Met has elsewhere conceded is their public duty to maintain public confidence in policing.”

Mr Johnson was not fined for attending the November or December events in question, but was issued with an FPN for attending the PM’s own birthday celebration in June 2020.

Leave a Comment