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The Met’s apparent decision not to investigate the Prime Minister’s attendance at three gatherings, which other, less senior, people were fined for attending, should be deeply concerning for all of us. And it raises serious questions for the Met.
For the law to have any meaning, it must apply equally to us all. There cannot be one interpretation of the law, and the consequences for breaching it, for those in power, and another for the rest of us. If a gathering was prohibited for some, shouldn’t it follow that anyone who participated in it committed an offence?
Along with former senior Met Officer Lord Paddick, we’re trying to uncover what really went on inside the Partygate investigation. We sent a pre-action letter to the Met, but they’re still not being upfront with us.
So we’ve written to the Met again, giving them one last chance to explain their position. We’ve given them until Wednesday 22 June to tell us whether Boris Johnson was sent questionnaires about the three gatherings he attended, in November and December 2020 and January 2021, and if not why not?
They must explain why they have seemingly made decisions that could cause so much damage to the public’s faith in the police.
So far, the Met has refused to be transparent. Instead, they’ve questioned whether Good Law Project or Lord Paddick have the legal right (known as ‘standing’) to challenge their actions, without explaining who, if anyone, they accept would have this. They’ve even suggested we try and work out for ourselves what their defence might be from publicly available documents, rather than explain their actions directly.
Lord Paddick: “The police have a duty to explain their actions to ensure they maintain public trust and confidence, and yet they have refused to provide any information about their decision-making around these incidents. Despite a duty to be open and honest, a duty of candour, they will not say why they only fined junior staff and not the Prime Minister, who publicly urged us to comply with Covid restrictions that he does not appear to have obeyed himself. The public cannot have trust in the police and the wider criminal justice system if they think the law does not apply to everyone equally.”
It was only after we began judicial review proceedings in January that the Met agreed to investigate the PM at all. After which he was fined. If the Met decides not to answer these important questions, we will be left with no option but to issue formal proceedings against them.
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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