UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was momentarily blindsided when a Labour MP challenged him with brand-new allegations about him attending 2020 Christmas parties, during Prime Minister’s Questions on February 9, 2022.
Here’s the moment when Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North East, brought the matter to Johnson’s attention:
He was referring to this photo:
How is Mr Hamilton “completely in error”? Johnson may not be “surrounded” by alcohol and food, but there is quite clearly an open bottle of what looks like champagne on the table in front of him, along with a packet of crisps that has been torn open in the way that happens at social events when many people are invited to dip in and take some.
And there’s definitely one person wearing tinsel.
It really does look “a lot like one of the Christmas parties that [Johnson] told us never happened”.
So… perhaps Johnson was mistaken in his answer. And of course he did not respond to the thrust of the question.
That’s okay – he was given an opportunity to correct the record only minutes later, courtesy of Labour’s Gerald Jones:
“That event already has been submitted for investigation,” Johnson spluttered, after stuttering several times (a sure ‘tell’ that he was trying to mislead us all).
The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg wasn’t so sure when she discussed it on Politics Live, a few minutes later. She said Cabinet Office secretary Sue Gray, who had carried out Johnson’s investigation (not an independent one), had chosen not to refer it to the police.
But this is a photo of the prime minister, in a party situation, at Christmas 2020 – and finding such evidence was exactly the purpose of the Gray investigation. If she did not pass this evidence of criminal activity on to the police, then she was derelict in her duty.
Gray’s interim report is vague about this. It states: “The Metropolitan Police has now confirmed that as a result of information provided by the Cabinet Office investigation team, as well as assessments made by Metropolitan Police officers, they are investigating the events on the dates set out above with the exception of the gatherings on:
• 15 May 2020
• 27 November 2020
• 10 December 2020
• 15 December 2020.”
It does not explain whether all the information Gray had received had been passed on to the police; it does not explain whether Gray herself chose to tell the police which events to investigate; and it does not explain whether the police made that decision.
In any case, it seems unlikely that Sue Gray even had the image (above) to pass on at the time she discussed these events with the police, as it has only just become public, according to Pippa Crerar in The Mirror, where the story of this new development was broken.
So it seems clear that this new evidence should indeed be passed to the police, who should reconsider whether to add the Christmas Quiz of December 15, 2020 to the 12 events they are already investigating.
If they don’t, even more serious criticisms will be made about Metropolitan Police bias and the suitability of Cressida Dick, who is an alumnus of Balliol College, Oxford, along with Boris Johnson, to continue in her role.
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