Metropolitan Police Comes to Johnson’s Rescue in Downing Street ‘Stitch-Up’
The Met is accused of an ‘establishment stitch-up’ after asking Sue Gray to censor references to illegal Downing Street parties in her report on illegal Downing Street parties
The Metropolitan Police has once again come to Boris Johnson’s rescue.
After weeks of refusing to investigate illegal parties in Downing Street, the force has now released a remarkable statement that appears to let him off the hook once again.
The statement, published on Friday morning, reveals that it has instructed Sue Gray, who had been preparing to release her report on the lockdown parties within days, to only make “minimal reference” to potentially illegal activities in Downing Street.
The force claims that it is trying to prevent prejudicing its investigation into the parties. However, this has been questioned by some legal experts.
Whatever the justification, the end result is that it will now be impossible for Gray to release anything but the blandest of reports into the scandal.
Scotland Yard’s statement led to immediate claims of an ‘establishment stitch-up’.
“Any appearance of an establishment stitch-up between the Met Commissioner and the Government is profoundly damaging”, the Liberal Democrat’s Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said.
“Police officers need the trust and confidence of the public to do their jobs and keep our communities safe.”
The timing of all of this is highly questionable. The Met Police waited some seven weeks after reports first emerged of the parties before beginning an investigation.
During that time, it repeatedly insisted that there was insufficient evidence to investigate Downing Street – despite the release of an email from the Prime Minister’s own aide inviting people to a “bring your own booze” party, and despite the Prime Minister himself admitting to attending one.
Meanwhile, multiple reports suggested that individuals in Downing Street were seeking to cover-up and destroy evidence of their involvement.
And now that Sue Gray is finally ready to release her report into her parties, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has once again saved the Prime Minister’s skin.
Questions about Johnson’s closeness to Dick, whose career he saved following her much-criticised handling of the Sarah Everard case, will now inevitably be raised again.
It’s also worth pointing out that Gray’s report would likely not only have implicated Downing Street, but the Metropolitan Police too.
Multiple reports suggest that her inquiry had spoken to Downing Street police officers who witnessed illegal activities inside the building at the time, but seemingly took no action.
But whatever the real motivations for today’s decision, the end result is that Boris Johnson has been let off the hook, for now.
With the Met’s own investigation into the parties likely to take weeks, if not months, to conclude, the Prime Minister has been allowed to avoid the moment of maximum danger to his premiership.