An investigation into three alleged gatherings which took place at 10 Downing Street and the education department last year are due to be widened.
All three parties were allegedly held between November and December 2020, now revealed following yesterday’s ‘partygate’ scandal where it was uncovered that a collection of Downing Street officials gathered for a party against COVID restrictions around this time last year.
In the wake of the scandal, a video of press secretary Allegra Stratton was leaked online showing her making light of the situation on the same day where around 400 people died from the virus, leading the former political aide to step down yesterday evening.
Now, two in-house parties at Downing Street which reportedly took place on November 27 and December 18 are being investigated by top civil servant Simon Case, as well as a gathering at the education department on December 10 last year.
The Labour party have asked that Boris Johnson resign if he’s found to have misled and lied to MPs about the events. Paymaster General Michael Ellis has said that any criminal uncovering at these parties would be reported to the police.
On November 27, 2020, England was in full lockdown, while December’s alleged parties would have breached a number of COVID restrictions in place during those times. The government is currently denying that any events took place.
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More alleged parties could be included in the investigation after Shadow Cabinet Office minister Fleur Anderson asked whether the review was “serious” enough.
Michael Ellis is now investigating who attended the parties, telling the Commons: “All ministers, special advisers and civil servants will be expected to cooperate with this investigation."
“As with all internal investigations if, during the course of the work any evidence emerges of behaviour that is potentially a criminal offence, the matter will be referred to the police and the Cabinet Office's work may be paused.
Boris Johnson has now cancelled plans for a Christmas party due to take place this month with over 120 donors in light of the scandal.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter