The Metropolitan Police is to investigate allegations of lockdown rule-breaking parties at Downing Street.
Scotland Yard’s commissioner Dame Cressida Dick told members of the London Assembly that police will probe claims of parties held at Number 10.
It comes after the police force has previously stated it would not investigate retrospective reports of breaches.
Police will wait to see if civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry passes on any relevant evidence. Gray’s report was expected to be published this week.
Speaking on Tuesday, Cressida Dick said an investigation came as a result of information provided by the Cabinet Officer and Met officers’ “own assessment”.
“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,” she said.
The force will not provide a “running commentary” on the investigation, Dick said.
“The fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved,” she added.
Boris Johnson has faced calls to resign from both the opposition and his own party in recent weeks, following revelations of a series of Whitehall gatherings during Covid lockdowns.
Prior to her statement at the London Assembly, the police chief was told that public trust in the Met had been hit hard by reports of the lockdown breaches.
There have been questions over how the gatherings at Downing Street were able to have occurred given the presence of nearby officers.
“We police without fear or favour. We police impartially,” Dick said.
It has been reported that Gray’s investigation is to be delayed following the Met’s announcement of their own investigation.
ITV’s Robert Peston has reported that Gray’s report will not be published this week and “probably not for many weeks.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed news of an investigation. “No one is above the law. There can’t be one rule for the Government & another for everyone else,” he said on Twitter.
On Monday, Downing Street admitted there was a birthday celebration at No.10 for the Prime Minister during the first lockdown in 2020.
It follows disclosures about a ‘bring your own booze’ garden party held in the first lockdown and staff Christmas parties held at the end of 2020.
While Johnson had confirmed he attended the garden party held in May 2020, he said has said he thought it was a “work event” and said “nobody told me” it was a lockdown rule breach.