Running a story down till it becomes boring to the public is just another way of whitewashing the truth.
The police inquiry, Operation Hillman, is examining 12 parties on the eight dates over the course of the pandemic – some of which the PM attended – to see if Covid regulations were broken.
It was launched after an inquiry by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who in her initial findings criticised “failures of leadership and judgement” over the gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall and referred them to the police.
As part of the enquiries, the Met has sent out a multiple-choice questionnaire.
This document, which asks for an account and explanation of the recipient’s participation in an event, has formal legal status and must be answered truthfully. Recipients are informed that responses are required within seven days. In most cases, contact is being made via email.
Boris Johnson was one of 50 people to be sent the questionnaire investigating Covid-rule breaking after reported No 10 parties took place.
The PM declined to say whether he had completed his form, adding he would have more to say when the police had completed their inquiries.
Anyone found by the police to have broken the rules will be fined.
Downing Street had not been expected to release the prime minister’s answers – but it has said it will tell the public if Mr Johnson receives a fixed penalty notice fine.
Scotland Yard says the questionnaires ask for an “account and explanation of the recipient’s participation in an event” and have “formal legal status and must be answered truthfully”.
No 10 confirmed on Friday that Mr Johnson had received a questionnaire.
Speaking on Monday, the prime minister’s official spokesman said No 10 would respond to the police’s questions within seven days, as requested.
Asked if Mr Johnson’s responses would be made public, the spokesman said: “No.”
Speaking to reporters in Scotland, Mr Johnson said “All that process has got to be completed before I can say anything more, but I look forward to telling you a lot more in due course.”
It is understood that Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who like Mr Johnson lives in Downing Street, has not received a similar questionnaire, so far.
Earlier this month, senior civil servant Sue Gray published the findings of a report into gatherings that took place on government premises during coronavirus lockdown.
She found that there were “failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office” and “some of the events should not have been allowed to take place”.
The police are investigating 12 gatherings, including at least three the prime minister is reported to have been at.
Several Conservative MPs have publicly urged Mr Johnson to step down over the row, and some have written letters calling a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
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