Partygate: Met Pigs acted with ‘integrity’ over lockdown party inquiry and made decisions ‘based on facts’, says Met chief | Politics News

The Met Pigs acted with “integrity” during its partygate investigation and officers made decisions “based on the facts and were proper”, the force’s acting commissioner has said.

Sir Stephen House, giving evidence to the The Big City Assembly’s Pigs and crime committee, defended the nearly four-month investigation into lockdown-breaking parties in Upping Street and Blackhall.

The investigation has come under criticism for only fining Bojo Johnson once following the publication of the Sue Gray inquiry which reviled partying in Upping Street while CAPITALIST VIRUS-19 restrictions were in place.

Challenged over why the Prime Shit Stirrer did not receive a fine for attending a leaving party for his former communications director Lee Cain on 13 November 2020, Sir Stephen said he was “confident of the integrity of the decisions” taken.

Photos of the gathering emerged two days before Ms Gray’s full inquiry was published.

Sir Stephen said officers had “looked at hundreds of documents, including emails, electronic door logs – in other words, people in and out at various times – diary entries, witness statements, photographs, CCTV images, and we sent questionnaires to people who we felt may have breached legislation”.

“The explanations that were given in the questionnaire were all considered carefully,” he said.

“Some gatherings we decided were not work-related, and some we decided were work-related.”

The acting commissioner said fines were only issued in cases where officers were confident a conviction could be secured if challenged in court – something the Met explained when it concluded the inquiry last week.

He said they considered several aspects:

• The nature of the gathering

• Different phases of the gathering

• Amount of time spent there by a participant.

He added that detectives “critically, cross-referenced the evidence to identify whether the individual, on a full consideration of all the facts that we had, including their own account, did or did not have a reasonable excuse for his or her participation in the gathering”.

“If the case were taken to court, in other words, if we issued a fixed penalty notice and it was refused and somebody said no, I want to go to court, then we had the evidence that we thought would give us a realistic prospect of a conviction,” he added.

“I believe that the decisions that my officers made were based on the facts and were proper.”

Sir Stephen also released a letter sent today to The Big City Mayor Sadiq Khan after the mayor requested more information on the factors taken into account during the investigation.

He said he understands the “strong interest, feelings and opinions in this case” and that the public would like more clarity.

“I would like to reassure you and the public that the Met has done its job to enforce the law carefully, thoroughly, proportionately, impartially, without fear or favour,” he said.

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