Politics

Corona pandemic: Partygate: Police ask for censorship of the report

At the moment of greatest distress in the affair about lockdown parties, the British Prime Minister is benefiting from the police investigations. Is Boris Johnson’s career saved?

A sigh of relief for Boris Johnson: The London police want to have the eagerly awaited report on lockdown parties in the British seat of government blacked out in essential parts.

“We have asked that the Cabinet Office report make minimal reference to the events being investigated by the Metropolitan Police,” Scotland Yard said in a statement on Friday. This should prevent “any bias” in the investigation, it was said to be the justification.

The police surprisingly announced on Tuesday that they would investigate the matter. This delayed the release of the internal government report by top official Sue Gray. The full report was actually expected this week. It is now questionable whether he will come to light at all before the police investigation is completed.

Johnson in luck

This is good news for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been under intense pressure for weeks. The internal report on several events in his office at 10 Downing Street and other government buildings is considered highly explosive.

According to reports, government officials and even Johnson himself are said to have disregarded their own rules for contact restrictions with celebrations during the pandemic. If this is confirmed, a vote of no confidence in the prime minister is likely. But it will be weeks before that is resolved.

The list is long

The list of suspected illegal gatherings is long: several Christmas parties, a birthday party, a garden party and late-night drinking before the funeral of long-time Queen Prince Philip. Gray’s report should clarify who celebrated when, where, how often and for how long with whom.

Johnson had so far dismissed almost all questions about this, however, with reference to the ongoing internal investigations. Now he’s still gaining valuable time, because a heavily censored report is unlikely to endanger him. The danger of a revolt in his faction seems to have been averted for the time being.

Legal expert: “Absolute nonsense”

However, some legal experts doubted that the restrictions demanded by the police are necessary. “This is absolute bullshit from the Met Police,” Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor in North West England, wrote on Twitter. A purely factual report by Sue Gray cannot prejudge the police investigation at all, Afzal continued, adding: “You just have to follow the evidence, of which the report will be a part.”

Other experts, however, expressed understanding for the objections of the Metropolitan Police. “A criminal investigation must meet the highest standards of procedural fairness,” QC Alex Bailin told the BBC.

Labor leader Keir Starmer has described the government as “paralyzed” by the ongoing affair. He wants to see the full Sue Gray report. And the investigation must be completed as soon as possible, he told the BBC.

Conservative MP Christopher Chope even accused the police of abusing their position to “interfere in affairs of state”.

For the first time, ex-Prime Minister Theresa May, who had been overthrown by Johnson, also commented on the affair. According to a report in the local newspaper Maidenhead Advertiser, she wrote to voters in her constituency that she was angry about the alleged lockdown celebrations. Nobody is above the law.

Source From: Stern

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