'Partygate Hasn’t Gone Away' – Tory MP Warns Boris Johnson

Police have started interviewing "key witnesses" as part of the investigation into the scandal.
Conservative MP Mark Harper.
Conservative MP Mark Harper.
TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images

A Tory MP today warned Boris Johnson that partygate “hasn’t gone away” as the Chancellor prepares to set out his spring statement.

Former chief whip Mark Harper said he was still waiting for the conclusion of the Met Police investigation and full Sue Gray report before making a judgment.

It comes after the war in Ukraine managed to unite mutinous Tory MPs and prompted some to withdraw their letters of no confidence in the PM.

Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg even declared at the weekend that the Ukraine crisis had exposed partygate as “fluff” and “fundamentally trivial”.

Harper, the MP for the Forest of Dean, told Sky News: “I’ve been very clear on the issues around how Downing Street have dealt with the so-called partygate.

“The prime minister wants us to judge him on the facts.

“I said I’ll wait for the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police criminal investigation, which is ongoing, and the full Sue Gray report when she completes that and that’s published, but that’s a judgment, I think, for another day.

“We’ve obviously got this important Ukraine situation ongoing and the government’s obviously doing a good job on leading opinion on that, and then we’ve got the very important spring statement today.

“So, partygate hasn’t gone away but it’s not for today, it’s for a day in the future when the Met’s finished its inquiry and the Sue Gray report is published.”

It comes after the Met Police confirmed it had sent out more than 100 questionnaires as part of the investigation into parties held in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place.

The force said it had now started interviewing witnesses and may need to contact more over the gatherings.

The Met launched its investigation in January after a string of reports about lockdown parties across Whitehall. It is formally investigating 12 events, including three the PM attended.

Separately at the end of January, senior civil servant Sue Gray published her initial findings into the parties.

Johnson has said an updated version of her report will be published once the police investigation is over.

Harper was previously among those demanding that Johnson commit to publishing the full Gray report once the police investigation has concluded.

He commented earlier this year: “Many have questioned, including my constituents, the prime minister’s honesty, integrity and fitness to hold that office. In judging him he rightly asked us to wait for all the facts.”


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