Partygate: Labour Urges BoJo to Release Pictures Taken at Number 10 Lockdown Gatherings

© REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAYBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street ahead of meeting Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, in London, Britain March 15, 2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street ahead of meeting Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, in London, Britain March 15, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.04.2022
The "partygate" scandal pertains to the allegations of COVID lockdown-breaking social gatherings held in Downing Street in 2020 and 2021. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to resign over the row, which is being investigated by Scotland Yard.
UK Cabinet Office ministers are refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any photos taken by official Downing Street photographers, which show alleged rule­-busting parties at Number 10, The Guardian has reported.

The newspaper quoted the ministers as saying that disclosing information on such pictures could prejudice senior civil servant Sue Gray's investigation into the so-­called "partygate" scandal and run counter to the principle of "fairness", in line with data protection regulations.

The pictures reportedly include a photo of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's birthday gathering on 19 June 2020, where he is seen holding up a beer towards the camera in a toast. The images are part of evidence that was earlier handed to Gray for her probe into the "partygate" row.
The government ministers' position on the matter has prodded Labour Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner to demand the publication of the photographs.
She told reporters that "the Downing Street photographer is funded by the taxpayer" which is why "the public have every right to see the photos that their hard-earned money has paid for".

"By blocking their publication, Boris Johnson is trying to cover up his own rule breaking. […] As this government inflicts crippling tax hikes on working families during a cost of living crisis, the least they can do is be honest about what that money is being spent on. Boris Johnson must come clean and release these photos", Rayner stated.

The remarks were made after the government came under fire over its reluctance to show more transparency on who has been slapped with fines by the Metropolitan Police (Met) over the "partygate" scandal.
Earlier this week, The Guardian reported that Gray had never been informed about which of the parties were considered a violation of law. She is due to update and publish a full version of her report when the Met inquiry is complete, but she is not expecting to receive all the information on who was fined over the Number 10 parties, according to the newspaper.
Her initial findings revealed that there were "failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office" and that "some of the events should not have been allowed to take place".
The opposition and some politicians from the ruling Conservative Party previously demanded that Johnson resign if he is fined for violating the restrictions he himself imposed on the rest of the country during the pandemic.
The PM denies any wrongdoing, but it has been alleged that he was at some parties, either at the official residence in Downing Street or in other public buildings. Johnson admitted that he was at a Downing Street garden party in May 2020, but added that he thought it was a work event.
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