London Police Review 'Partygate' Probe As Photo Of 13th Gathering Emerges

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Feb 09, 2022 - 08:20 PM

The Sue Gray 'Partygate' report was shared with PM Boris Johnson earlier this month, but that doesn't mean the controversy is over yet - far from it.

Earlier today, the PM, who is just barely clinging to power in the face of increasingly intense opposition, witnessed another photograph of him being released - this time, it's a photo depicting Johnson participating in a "virtual" No. 10 Downing Street "Christmas quiz", the 13th party to be associated with 'Partygate'. The photo was first published by the Daily Mirror, a British tabloid. It hadn't been revealed before. The photo shows BoJo in close proximity to three members of his staff, along with an open bottle of champagne.

According to Politico Europe, the December 15, 2020 quiz was not among the string of events being investigated by the London police force, which is looking at 12 other gatherings held in Downing Street and Whitehall during the period when Britain's strict COVID lockdowns were in place.

Hours after the photos were published by the Daily Mirror, the Met Police said they were in the process of reviewing their decision not to investigate the 'virtual' event.

Hours after the photo was published, the Metropolitan Police said they would review an earlier decision not to include the event in their investigation.

"The MPS previously assessed this event and determined that on the basis of the evidence available at that time, it did not meet the threshold for criminal investigation,” the force said in a statement. “That assessment is now being reviewed."'

The move will pile fresh pressure on Johnson and his government, who have been rocked by multiple reports of lockdown-breaking parties on government property during the pandemic.

In response to the release of the photo, BoJo has decided to speed up his plans for rolling back COVID restrictions, Reuters reports. Starting later this month, there will be no more legal requirements to self-isolate to stem the spread of COVID, BoJo said Wednesday. Johnson ended England's "Plan B" measures that had been temporarily imposed to slow the spread of the more recent omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with COVID," Johnson told lawmakers. Parliament returns on Feb. 21.

Now, England is the first major country to drop mandatory COVID quarantine requirements with guidelines. The rule is currently due to lapse on March 24, and Johnson had said before that he would look to move the end of the requirement forward if he could.

The UK is also eliminating its requirement for vaccinated travelers arriving in the country to take a COVID test starting Friday. The remaining travel restrictions would be addressed on Feb. 21.

Circling back to the new photo, opposition MPs challenged BoJo during Wednesday's session of PMQs about the contents of the image (as it was published during PMQs. "It looks a lot like one of the Christmas parties that he told us never happened," Labour MP Fabian Hamilton said.