The London Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday that it would launch a criminal investigation into parties reportedly held at 10 Downing Street and other ministerial buildings during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns in Britain.
“I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said at a press conference Tuesday.
“I should stress the fact that the Met is investigating does not mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved,” Dick also said, adding that police would provide “updates at significant points as we would normally do.”
British media have reported 14 events that violated the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to The Washington Post.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been the subject of scandal and his approval ratings took a hit after reports of a “bring your own booze” party on May 20, 2020. He has since apologized for that gathering.
Johnson has said he would not resign despite the growing criticism. The prime minister has also said he thought the party was a work event and that no one told him it was against rules in place at the time.
One conservative lawmaker has accused the government of trying to “blackmail” lawmakers who wanted Johnson out of office.
“In recent days, a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the prime minister,” said William Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.