The Metropolitan Police has just been given another headache - this time over Partygate

The Metropolitan Police has just been given another headache - this time over Partygate

Related video: Footage appears to show Metropolitan Police officers punching boy in garden

The Metropolitan Police has been embroiled in many a controversy, drama and scandal in recent weeks and months, and unfortunately, it shows no sign of stopping:

Now, on Wednesday, it faces another headache in the form of legal action taken over their handling of the Partygate scandal.

The legal challenge, launched by the Good Law Project (GLP) and former police officer Lord Paddick, concerns the Met’s decision not to investigate Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his attendance at three lockdown gatherings – on 13 November 2020, 17 December 2020 and 14 January 2021.

This is despite civil servants who attended these events receiving police questionnaires and, in some cases, being fined as a result.

The 13 November gathering concerned the departure of a special adviser, and pictures of Mr Johnson at the gathering were included in Sue Gray’s explosive report into Downing Street parties.

The 17 December instance concerned the departure of two No 10 officials, as did the gathering on 14 January 2021.

Wednesday’s judicial review comes after the Met was given a week to respond to a pre-action letter from the GLP about its Partygate investigation – including the central questions of “were questionnaires sent to the prime minister regarding the three gatherings” and “if not, why not?”

Correspondence from the Met released by the GLP reads: “There is no proper basis for the suggestion in your Pre-Action Protocol letter that my client failed to adequately investigate the prime minister’s participation in any of the three gatherings.”

In a news article published earlier today, the GLP wrote: “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’).

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“Yet even here, they haven’t explained themselves. We asked them who – if not us – would have standing, and they refused to answer.

“So now we’re forced to sue the Met for a second time.”

Lord Paddick added: “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.”

Twitter users have expressed their satisfaction at the legal challenge, while some have despaired at what this means for trust in the police:

The Metropolitan Police now have until 22 July to respond to the judicial review.

A spokesman told indy100: "We are aware an application has been filed and we will respond to that application in due course."

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