https://sputniknews.com-© REUTERS / CARL RECINE – Oleg Burunov
The British prime minister is facing multiple calls to step down over the “partygate” scandal, a host of alleged COVID rule-breaking parties held at Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office and residence in 2020 and 2021.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been “privately reassured” that he will not be forced out of office by his lawmakers when senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report on the alleged No 10 parties is issued, The Mirror reports.
The report into at least 17 parties held at Downing Street between 2020 and 2021 amid COVID lockdowns is expected to be submitted to Johnson within days.
The gathering ostensibly took place on the night of 13 November 2020, when Johnson’s aide Dominic Cummings quit.
Sources also told The Mirror that a tipsy Downing Street staffer boasted about breaching coronavirus lockdown rules to police guarding No 10 as he told them: “We’re the only ones allowed to party”. A spokesperson for Johnson argued that “it is totally untrue to suggest Mrs Johnson held a party in the Downing Street flat on 13 November 2020”.
The developments come after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced last week that the Met had opened its own criminal inquiry into eight Downing Street parties after assessing Gray’s dossier of evidence.
The Met then asked Gray to make “minimal reference” to any events that the police are also probing, arguing that they want to avoid “any prejudice” to their own investigation.
When the police investigation into the “partygate” row began on Tuesday, the law enforcement agency said it did not believe there was a risk of prejudice. This sparked speculation that Gray’s report will be redacted before being made public to ensure it complies with the Met’s request that nothing prejudices its own inquiry into the scandal.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, in turn, underlined that he wants the report “in full and the investigation finished as quickly as possible”, arguing that the government was “paralysed” by the police inquiry. He was echoed by Shadow Minister Lisa Nandy who urged Johnson to finally do away with the “partygate” ballyhoo.
“There are a lot of bereaved families, there are a lot of people who made huge sacrifices who deserve to hear the truth from the prime minister. If he won’t put an end to this circus then that report has to come out in full so that people can judge for themselves”, Nandy told The Mirror.
Johnson is under pressure to step down over the “partygate” scandal, something he has adamantly refused to do.
Some Tory MPs are believed to be waiting for the release of Gray’s report before deciding whether to submit letters calling on Johnson to stand down. Fifty-four letters need to be submitted to 1922 Committee chair Graham Brady to trigger a vote of no confidence against the prime minister. The PM, for his part, has hailed Gray’s probe as something that will “help to draw a line under matters”, pledging that her report will be published in full.