Johnson claims not trying to block 'partygate' report
Boris Johnson and the UK police are facing criticism for postponing the report into the partygate scandal, but both parties assure they are not trying to block it.
London police on Friday denied the accusations they are facing of delaying a long-awaited government probe into illegal Downing Street parties held during a strict COVID-19 lockdown as the virus was ravaging the United Kingdom.
The parties in question have put Prime Minister Boris Johnson under fire, jeopardizing his political future as allegations mount against the Conservative premier who broke the rules his government had put in place.
Weeks after the public found out about the parties, Johnson was forced to order a senior civil servant to probe the claims, and the report was due to be published this week.
The investigation into the "partygate" scandal is yet to surface, causing the public to think police involvement this week could prevent the disclosure of full details.
Johnson's spokesperson claimed the government wanted to ensure the internal report did not "cut across" the police investigation, so as not to prejudice any future legal proceedings.
"We are in no way seeking to block the report," he told reporters.
"We have not delayed this report, and the timing of its release is a matter for the Cabinet Office inquiry team," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The police later said the detectives leading the investigation received materials they had requested from the Cabinet Office, the government department that supports Johnson.
Officers will examine the materials "in detail" and "without fear or favor," Commander Catherine Roper said.
Police do not want details emerging as they probe potential breaches of coronavirus legislation, which they said could be punishable by fines.
The "Partygate" revelations sparked calls for Johnson to resign, as they caused severe public and political anger.
The delay in delivering the report has benefitted Johthe premier, giving him some breathing space after he promised to address parliament as soon as the report is made public.
Conservative MPs coming from all over the spectrum are now searching for a way to oust Johnson from his position following his much-ridiculed and eyebrow-raising interview in which he claimed that "nobody warned me it was against the rules" to host a drinking party in Downing Street during the first lockdown.
Many Tory figures believe the publication of the final report will most certainly incriminate Johnson and have thusly begun to hand or draft letters that would trigger a leadership contest.
The scandal even caused a Tory MP to defect to the opposition Labour Party. Christian Wakeford said Johnson and his Conservative party have shown themselves "incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves."
This "partygate" scandal may become the tipping point for the prime minister who was embroiled in controversies ranging from rule-breaking to outright corruption.