Downing Street officials have handed over photos of parties, including images of Boris Johnson and wine bottles, to her investigators, according to reports. Calls for Mr Johnson to quit grew tonight
Boris Johnson could face a grilling by police over Partygate after Scotland Yard finally caved into public pressure to launch an investigation.
And the PM’s political future is hanging in the balance as Sue Gray’s report into No10 lockdown bashes may be published tomorrow.
Downing Street officials have handed over photos of parties, including images of Mr Johnson and wine bottles, to her investigators, according to reports.
Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick confirmed officers will look into “a number of events” where Covid lockdown rules were said to have been broken in Whitehall.
Calls for Mr Johnson to quit over the scandal grew tonight.
She said: “Boris Johnson is a national distraction. Conservative MPs should stop propping him up and he should finally do the decent thing and resign.”
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey added: “We got here because the PM can’t tell the truth.
“He’s lied continually, he’s been dishonest to Parliament and to the British people. He has to go.”
Former government whip Sir Robert Syms said: “I think the Prime Minister really ought to consider his position.
“We’re going to get paralysis in government for months and that’s not good for the country.”
Mr Johnson will face further pressure at PMQs, where he is expected to face a barrage of demands to step down.
The Mirror has been told civil servant Ms Gray’s report will come within days and even “as early as” tomorrow, despite the police probe.
Government sources had initially claimed it would not be published until after the Met investigation was completed – sparking fears it was being kicked into the long grass.
Then, No10 suggested the findings could be published partially, with events being looked at by Scotland Yard left out.
But after the Met said it had no objection to the full report being published, Downing Street ruled out any delay.
Ms Gray’s office said: “The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing. There is in ongoing contact with the Metropolitan Police Service.”
The document in its entirety was being sent to No10 but the final decision on how much of it will be made public is for the PM.
Dame Cressida insisted her force would “police without fear or favour” when asked why she had not launched a probe earlier.
She told the London Assembly: “I absolutely understand there is deep public concern about the allegations that have been in the media over the last several weeks.
“Many, many people including Londoners, and my colleagues have made huge sacrifices and they’ve suffered considerable loss during the pandemic.”
Dame Cressida would not say which parties were under investigation. But it comes two months after the Mirror first reported on lockdown bashes.
Mr Johnson initially denied any had taken place, then said they had but he did not know about them. He is believed to have attended at least half a dozen of the gatherings, even if only for a short time, while the rest of the country faced a string of restrictions.
The latest was a surprise bash to celebrate his birthday on June 19, 2020, organised by wife Carrie according to ITV News.
More than 30 officials gathered for cake and picnic food in the Cabinet Room, a week after the PM warned the nation indoor gatherings were illegal.
Mr Johnson said he welcomed the police investigation, insisting it would “give the public the clarity it needs” over the allegations and “help draw a line under the matter”.
Downing Street confirmed the PM was prepared to be interviewed saying he would “co-operate fully” with the police inquiry.
But his spokesman added that it was “fair to say that he does not” believe he had broken Covid laws.
Many Tory MPs are awaiting the outcome of Ms Gray’s report before deciding Mr Johnson’s fate.
The PM has spent much of his time trying to persuade them not to trigger a confidence vote.
But he kept Cabinet ministers in the dark over the police investigation, which was launched during their meeting today.
And today only Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tory MP Conor Burns leapt to his defence.
The Leader of the House claimed: “The leadership this country has had under Boris Johnson has been so brilliant – he has got all the big decisions right [during the pandemic].”
But critics would be quick to point to a string of blunders such as locking down late and opening up early that experts fear may have cost lives as evidence against Mr Rees-Mogg’s boasts.
Northern Ireland minister Mr Burns said of the birthday bash claims: “It was not a premeditated, organised party in that sense, that the Prime Minister himself decided to have. As far as I can see, he was, in a sense, ambushed with a cake.
“They came to his office with a cake, they sang Happy Birthday, he was there for 10 minutes.
“I don’t think most people looking at that at home would characterise that as a party.”