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UK PM Johnson receives report into alleged Downing Street lockdown parties

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By Reuters
UK PM Johnson has received report into potential Downing Street lockdown breaches
UK PM Johnson has received report into potential Downing Street lockdown breaches   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

By William James and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received an update on the internal inquiry into alleged parties at his Downing Street residence that breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the Cabinet Office said in a statement on Monday.

Johnson, facing the gravest threat to his premiership over the alleged lockdown-busting parties at his residence and office at Number 10 Downing Street, has so far weathered calls from opponents and some in his own party to resign by saying people should wait for the report by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

“We can confirm that Sue Gray has provided an update on her investigations to the Prime Minister,” a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.

London’s Metropolitan Police said on Friday they had opened an investigation into some of the events to assess whether criminal offences had been committed. They asked for the report to make only “minimal reference” to those events.

As a result of the police investigation, the document from Gray is not the full account Johnson would otherwise have received. The update will be published later on Monday, and Johnson will also make a statement to parliament at 1530 GMT.

Weeks of media reports about more than a dozen gatherings – including a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden – have provoked widespread public anger, fuelling the perception that the political elite failed to stick to the tough lockdown rules they set for the rest of the country.

Asked if he thought he had broken the rules, Johnson said earlier on Monday: “You’re going to have to wait and see the outcome of the investigations … but of course I stick absolutely to what I said in the past.”

Johnson has apologised for errors that were made and said he attended one garden party thinking it was a work event, but has rejected calls to quit.

Nevertheless, collapsing opinion poll ratings have unnerved lawmakers in his own party, raising the prospect that they could trigger a confidence vote in his leadership. Several have already publicly called for him to quit.