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Home Breaking Police will not carry out a formal investigation into the Covid-rule-breaking party held in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020, unless an internal probe uncovers evidence of criminality

Police will not carry out a formal investigation into the Covid-rule-breaking party held in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020, unless an internal probe uncovers evidence of criminality

The Metropolitan Police said it will only consider whether to launch its own investigation if Sue Gray, the civil servant running Downing Street’s internal probe, “identifies evidence of behaviour that is potentially a criminal offence. The force said it has “ongoing contact” with the Cabinet Office in relation to the Number 10 garden party, which the prime minister admitted to attending on May 20, 2020, after ITV News published a leaked email inviting more 100 people to attend. The email, sent by the PM’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, urged staff to “make the most of the lovely weather” by attending “socially distanced drinks” in the No 10 garden. Boris Johnson claimed he did not know he was at a party, instead of believing he was at a “work event” which he said would “technically” comply with the rules. But the Good Law Project, a campaigning not-for-profit group of lawyers, said the email leaked to ITV News provides enough evidence for police to investigate and alleges that a decision not to could be “unlawful”. In a letter handed to ITV News and the Mirror, the group said it had told the Metropolitan Police Service it will “likely” take legal action to challenge any decision not to investigate. It said there are strong grounds for “retrospectively” investigating the lockdown breach because the email provides “clear evidence” of potential wrongdoing. On Monday, following ITV News’ report, the Metropolitan Police said it was “in contact with the Cabinet Office” over the party on May 20, 2020. In response, Number 10 officials said Sue Gray’s inquiry would be halted if the Metropolitan Police decided to conduct an investigation. Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “absolutely right” for the Met to wait for Sue Gray’s investigation to report back before considering launching their own probe. She told broadcasters: “There’s an ongoing investigation, that investigation needs to conclude, and then obviously other actions could be taken post that investigation, but we can’t pre-empt things right now. We really can’t.” But the Lib Dems accused the Met Police of a “shady establishment stitch-up.” The party said: “The police don’t need the Government’s permission to investigate a crime, and they mustn’t turn a blind eye to criminality just because it is committed by Boris Johnson.”

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