Metropolitan Police to delay fresh updates in ‘partygate’ scandal probe until after May 5

Published on Apr 21, 2022 08:02 PM IST

The police attributed the delay to 'restrictions around communication' during the elections to local and regional authority positions, which be held on the said date. The probe, however, will continue as usual.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (File Photo/Reuters)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (File Photo/Reuters)
By, New Delhi

The Metropolitan Police, which is probing alleged breaches of Covid-19 lockdown rules at gatherings in Downing Street, informed on Thursday that its officers will issue the next set of updates on the agency’s probe into the case only after elections to local and regional authority positions, scheduled for May 5.

The investigation, however, will continue as usual in this period, the police also said.

“Due to the restrictions around communicating before the May local elections, we will not provide further updates until after May 5,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.

The announcement came two days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom the force fined earlier this month, along with his finance minister Rishi Sunak, ‘wholeheartedly apologised’ to Parliament for violating rules during the lockdown. The 57-year-old Conservative leader also said that it didn’t occur to him that he was breaking rules and that he didn’t intentionally mislead Parliament.

Also Read | Boris Johnson offers ‘wholehearted apology' over Downing Street 'partygate'

The premier, who is likely to receive more fines, was penalised 50 pounds (USD 65) for attending an indoor gathering at his official residence on his 56th birthday on June 19, 2020. The event was also attended, among others, by Sunak. 

Also Read | Fined by police, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak apologise for ‘partygate’

Also on Thursday, the House of Commons will vote to determine whether Johnson will be referred to the Parliament’s committee on standards for further scrutiny. However, he will not be present to face the voting as he is in Ahmedabad, India, on the first day of his 2-day state visit to India.

Also Read | British MPs to vote on Boris Johnson's ‘partygate’ scandal on Thursday

The British press has dubbed the episode as ‘partygate’. Johnson is the first sitting British Prime Minister to have violated a law. However, he has repeatedly refused to step down.

(With Reuters inputs)

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