The Met police has announced it will contact more than 50 people people believed to have taken part in Downing Street parties as part of its probe into ‘partygate’, as well as reviewing a decision not to investigate a further party in December 2020.
Officers will begin sending out questionnaires to more than 50 people this week as part of the investigation, which has been codenamed Operation Hillman.
The Met said the document asks for “an account and explanation of the recipient’s participation in an event”, and has “formal legal status and must be answered truthfully.”
The Met added: “Recipients are informed that responses are required within seven days.”
It comes as the Met also confirmed it was considering a criminal investigation into another Downing Street party during Covid restrictions after a picture emerged of the prime minister alongside two aides.
The picture, first published by the Mirror, shows a bottle of wine on the table and an open packet of crisps.
The Met said it had “previously assessed this event and determined that on the basis of the evidence available at that time, it did not meet the threshold for criminal investigation. That assessment is now being reviewed”.
Fabian Hamilton, the shadow minister, questioned the Prime Minister over the photograph at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, saying: “It looks a lot like one of the Christmas parties he told us never happened. Will the Prime Minister be referring this party to the police as it is not one of the ones currently being investigated?”
Detectives working for the Met’s Special Enquiry Team continue to examine more than 500 documents and 300 images provided to them by the Cabinet Office, the Met said today, and will be requesting further information from the Cabinet Office to assist with the investigation.