Boris Johnson ‘should not volunteer culpability’ over alleged lockdown breaches


oris Johnson should not “volunteer his culpability” on claims he may have broken Covid lockdown rules by attending parties in Downing Street, a minister said.

With the Metropolitan Police reportedly nearly doubling the number of people they are writing to in connection with at least 12 gatherings across Whitehall, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey insisted the public should wait for the outcome of their investigation before drawing any conclusions.

“I don’t think the Prime Minister should volunteer his culpability,” Mr Heappey told Sky News. “His argument is he is not culpable. We should wait and see what the police come back with.

“We have had an investigation by a senior civil servant. She found cause to refer a number of lines of investigation to police which she has now done. I think that you, like many members of the public and parliamentarians, are keen to see what the police conclude.”

Downing Street confirmed late on Friday night that the Prime Minister had now received a questionnaire asking him to explain his participation in “partygate” events.

Mr Johnson attended at least three different gatherings when England was subject to Covid restrictions banning parties. The Met have said those receiving questionnaires have seven days to respond to the document, which has legal status.

On Monday it declined to comment on reports that officers had now written to 90 people connected with the party claims — dozens more than the 50 announced five days ago.

Asked about a picture showing Mr Johnson with No10 colleagues at a “virtual quiz” on December 15, 2020, Mr Heappey said it was difficult to jump to conclusions.

“That is a snapshot in time,” he said. “I don’t know whether the Prime Minister has walked into that room while the other two people in the photograph are engaged in something… to be honest if there are photographs I am going to spend time worrying about today it’s photographs of Russian troop formations on the Ukrainian border.”

In an effort to shift the focus from “partygate” the Prime Minister today embarked on a UK tour to promote plans for levelling up, starting with a visit to a manufacturing site in Scotland. The UK and Scottish governments have already agreed to set up two “green freeports” in Scotland.


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