Met police ‘Partygate’ probe expansion slammed by Tory MPs – ‘Bigger fish to fry’
Jeremy Vine guest says PM should not be forgiven for partygate
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The Met are investigating 12 separate events which include six Boris Johnson is thought to have attended. Detectives conducting the investigation into the lockdown parties at Downing Street and Whitehall announced the inflation of the enquiry with more questionnaires being sent out and the beginning of interviews of “key witnesses”.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “As a result of responses so far, further individuals have been identified and questionnaires sent to them.
“As the investigation continues, we may need to contact more people as further information comes to light.
“This investigation involves a significant amount of investigative material; the serving of over 100 questionnaires and the need to individually assess every response.
“The offences under consideration comprise a number of elements and the legislation itself changed between the event dates. We are progressing the investigation as quickly as possible.
“As yet, we have not made any referrals to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for the issuing of fixed penalty notices.
“However, every questionnaire response is being assessed alongside all available evidence, and should this reach the evidential threshold, then referrals will be made.”
A source from Downing Street said on Monday that the Prime Minister has not yet been interviewed.
Tory MPs have expressed their distaste for the investigation while “there are so many other things to deal with” while other critics have stated that the amount of interviews being conducted is unnecessary for a fixed penalty notice.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith stated: “What is the point of all this now? I’m just puzzled that they seem to be ploughing away at this when there are so many other things to deal with at the moment that are crucial around running Government and when it comes to a real threat to the freedom of the Western world.
“Right now, we have bigger fish to fry in the sense that there is a real situation around Russia invading Ukraine and threatening a nuclear war to the rest of NATO.”
Tory MP Michael Fabricant supported Duncan Smith’s view and said: “Due process needs to be followed, but the timing when we are virtually at war – is not the greatest.”
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No fines have yet been issued in the probe which has almost lasted two months but the increase in questionnaires implies that initial responses brought more people into question.
The officers working on Operation Hillman as the investigation is known, stated that the investigation involves assessing a “significant amount of investigative material”.
The officers also have to “individually assess every response” which could include cross-examination of work colleagues’ accounts.
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