'PartyGate' Probe 'Has Pics of BoJo Next to Wine Bottles' at Lockdown-Breaching Bashes

© AFP 2023 / JUSTIN TALLISBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson samples an Isle of Harris Gin as he visits a UK Food and Drinks market set up in Downing Street, central London on November 30, 2021
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson samples an Isle of Harris Gin as he visits a UK Food and Drinks market set up in Downing Street, central London on November 30, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
After Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick revealed in a news briefing on Tuesday that the force was investigating "a number of events" at Downing Street for potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations, Boris Johnson told the Commons yesterday that he welcomed the probe that would "help draw a line under matters".
As senior civil servant Sue Gray is set to present findings of a probe into allegedly lockdown-breaching parties at Downing Street and Whitehall in 2020-2021 in the coming hours or days, fresh reports have been feeding into the maelstrom surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
It is understood that Gray’s investigation has received photographs showing Johnson and others close together with wine bottles at a time when strict coronavirus restrictions were in place, reported Sky News.
While two different sources have confirmed the existence of such damning images to the outlet, there is no clarity at the moment whether any of them will be published in the final report.
Gray is believed to have been interviewing witnesses and examining evidence that includes security logs showing who was in Downing Street and when. The final report may offer a judgement on whether the events probed breached rules in place at the time.

Met Probe a ‘Different Ballgame’

Embattled Boris Johnson earlier this month issued an apology in the House of Commons for attending one of the No10 events being probed – a garden gathering on 20 May 2020, claiming he thought it was a "work event", while urging people to wait for Sue Gray to publish her findings. The PM promised he would then make a statement and answer questions in the House of Commons.
On Tuesday, Downing Street reiterated that the government wants the report to be published "as soon as possible" and dismissed allegations it was trying to block its publication after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that anything less than a full publication would amount to a "cover-up".
After Metropolitan Police on Tuesday announced a criminal investigation into allegations of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street, a degree of uncertainty has been cast over when to expect the publication of the report by Gray's team.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said in a news briefing at a London Assembly committee that the force was investigating "a number of events" for potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations in Downing Street and Whitehall.
“We will of course be going where the evidence takes us and we have already done our own assessment, as you know, and we’ve been in a constant dialogue with the Cabinet Office team. So I don’t anticipate any difficulty in obtaining the evidence that it is both necessary, proportionate and appropriate for us to obtain in order to get to the right conclusions,” said Dame Cressida Dick.
She stopped short of specifying which parties are under investigation.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick speaks during a service ahead of the start of the Police Unity Tour in central London - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2022
UK Police to Probe Lockdown Parties at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Office
The police inquiry will dig up evidence which has not yet been submitted to Gray, some ex-No 10 staffers were cited by The Guardian as saying. One Tory source was quoted as saying that the Met probe was a “different ballgame”.
“Officials who don’t tell Sue Gray the whole truth will not hold back from the cops,” added the source.
As for the timeline, sources cited by Sky News suggested the police probe will take "weeks, not days". It was also suggested that the Met had no objections to the Cabinet Office findings being released before the criminal investigation has wrapped up. However, a senior government source appeared to have reservations, saying:
“You don’t need to be a lawyer to realise that if there’s an ongoing police investigation, there are constraints on what you can publish.”
Responding to the “speculations”, a No10 spokesperson said:
“The advice that I have had is that there are still ongoing discussions, there are still details that need to be worked through between both the police and the investigations team,” adding that “we are not, as in No 10, seeking to block that in any way”.
Boris Johnson, who has faced growing calls to resign amid the “partygate row, which was taken to new heights by recent reports of a birthday party held for him on 19 June 2020 in Downing Street during the first COVID-19 lockdown, told MPs in the Commons on Tuesday he welcomed the police probe.
According to the PM, he believed it would "help draw a line under matters". However, the UK Prime Minister does not believe he has broken the law, a No 10 spokesman said on Tuesday.
Assurances were also given that Johnson and his staff will "fully cooperate" with London police as they carried out the investigation.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 12, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2022
Boris Johnson Doesn’t Think He Has Broken the Law Amid Probe Into Lockdown Parties
As Johnson and his officials remain braced for the release of the Cabinet Office report, the Tory Prime Minister’s leadership hangs in the balance. Both opposition parties and Tory critics have insisted that if evidence is presented showing the Johnson misled parliament, it would amount to a breach of the ministerial code.
Tory MPs are said to be awaiting Gray’s findings before deciding whether to add their names to those who have already called for letters to be sent to the 1922 Committee chair, Graham Brady, to trigger a vote of no confidence. According to a senior MP cited by The Guardian, Tory backbenchers would likely adopt a “collective decision” after the report comes out and Johnson issues a statement in response.
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