UK police chief defends decision-making over ‘partygate’ fines – Metro US

UK police chief defends decision-making over ‘partygate’ fines

Pictures published in Sue Gray’s report
Pictures published in Sue Gray’s report

LONDON (Reuters) – The acting head of London’s Metropolitan Police on Thursday defended his investigation into COVID-19 lockdown-busting parties at the heart of government, responding to earlier criticism from the British capital’s Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Earlier this week Khan, who has oversight of policing in London, demanded an explanation from police over how they decided who to fine for events in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s offices that broke lockdown rules.

New photographs of Johnson at a leaving party in Downing Street in November 2020 were published by ITV News on Monday. Johnson was not fined for that gathering, but did receive a fine for another event, a party for his birthday in June 2020.

A damning government report published on Wednesday detailed a series of illegal lockdown parties and included other pictures of Johnson at gatherings. Prior to this, police had handed out 126 fines in connection with their investigation.

Acting Commissioner Steve House published a letter in reply to Khan, setting out the decision-making process his officers had used when deciding whether to issue fines or not.

“I can assure you and the public that the small but skilled team investigating this have acted diligently, proportionately, carefully, and impartially,” he said in the letter.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden)