'Johnson's Not Above the Law': Labour Asks Police to Probe Alleged No 10 Parties Amid 2020 Lockdown
06:02 GMT 04.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
Earlier this week, Labour leader Keir Starmer accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of "taking the British public for fools" amid UK media reports that Christmas parties were held in Downing Street at the height of the coronavirus lockdown last year.
Labour lawmaker Neil Coyle has asked Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to investigate allegations that Downing Street held at least two parties during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions
"I believe they broke the law. Most of my constituents followed the rules; those that didn't faced penalties. [UK Prime Minister Boris] Johnson is not above the law, despite his bloated self-entitlement", Coyle told reporters.
The MP was echoed by former Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner, who also urged the Met to look into the allegations about the Downing Street parties, stressing that "if these events did take place, it implies there is one rule for the government and another for everyone else".
The remarks come after Johnson faced a grilling during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in the wake of a report by The Mirror that he and his aides attended at least two No 10 parties despite a host of coronavirus restrictions being in place in the UK at the time.
2 December 2021, 06:38 GMT
In one episode, BoJo reportedly arrived at a leaving party for Cleo Watson, a former aide to one-time PM adviser Dominic Cummings, on 27 November, when meeting indoors or in private gardens was not allowed under restrictions set by the government to fight the pandemic.
The second Downing Street party to celebrate the upcoming Christmas ostensibly occurred on 18 December 2020, four days after Tier 3, the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions, was imposed on London. This stipulated people being banned from mixing indoors with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
Speaking at the PMQs, UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer accused Johnson of "taking the British public for fools for following the rules" as he said, "the prime minister doesn't deny there was a Downing Street Christmas party last year. He says no rules were broken. Both of those things can't be true".
"Does the prime minister really expect the country to believe that while people were banned from seeing loved ones at Christmas last year, it was fine for him and his friends to throw a boozy party in Downing Street?", Starmer queried.
This was followed by Johnson arguing that "all guidance was followed completely at No 10".
The developments unfold as Tory co-chair Oliver Dowden said that "there will be festive events in the run-up to Christmas" this year despite the World Health Organisation's fears about the spread of "Omicron", a new COVID-19 variant
that was first detected in South Africa last week.
29 November 2021, 05:51 GMT
"The message to people, I think, is fairly straightforward – which is: keep calm, carry on with your Christmas plans. We've put the necessary restrictions in place, but beyond that keep calm and carry on", Dowden told Sky News.
The new Omicron strain has already prompted a number of countries around the world, including the UK, to roll out travel bans and public health measures.