We are, today, issuing formal proceedings against the Met Police for their apparent continued failure to properly investigate Boris Johnson’s attendance at three lockdown gatherings, in November and December 2020 and January 2021, and their refusal to answer our legitimate questions about how they reached this decision.
The public have a right to know what really went on inside the Partygate investigation. The Met’s actions have raised grave concerns about the deferential way in which they are policing those in power. It stands in stark contrast to how ordinary people were policed during lockdown.
It was only after we threatened to sue the Met in January 2022 that they agreed to investigate at all and the Prime Minister was eventually fined for attending a lockdown gathering in June 2020.
We’ve given the Met multiple opportunities to explain why he was reportedly not sent questionnaires regarding these three other gatherings, nor issued with fixed penalty notices for attending them, when a number of civil servants and officials who did received both.
On 15 June, we wrote to the Met, giving them a week to finally live up to their duty to be honest and upfront with the public.
Rather than work with us in a spirit of transparency, or address to the substantive issues raised in our case, their response focuses on our right to bring this action at all (known as ‘standing’). Yet even here, they haven’t properly explained themselves. We asked them who, if not us, would have standing and they refused to answer.
We strongly believe that Good Law Project and our co-claimant, former senior Met Officer Lord Paddick, have standing to represent the public interest in this matter. If we aren’t allowed to bring this claim, we don’t believe anyone else will be in a position to do so.
So now we’re forced to sue the Met for a second time.
Lord Paddick: “Members of the public will have seen Boris Johnson raising a glass at a party that he was apparently not even questioned about, and thought ‘If that had been me, I would have been fined.’ We are determined that the Prime Minister should be held to the same standard as the rest of us.”
From its failure to hold the Prime Minister and those around him to account for their lockdown breaches, to shocking reports of institutional misogyny, discrimination and sexual harassment, the public’s faith in the Met has been shaken to the core this year. This is their moment to finally begin repairing the damage their inaction has done.
Our challenge is grounded in a single, simple idea: for the law to have any meaning, it must apply equally to us all. The Met must explain their seeming lack of action in this matter. We won’t stop until the full story is uncovered.
The Met have until 22 July to respond. We will keep you updated.
Lord Paddick and Good Law Project have instructed the same team which acted in the previous judicial review of the Met: Bindman LLP and Danny Friedman QC leading Adam Wagner.
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