No.10, The Palace And The Police: Why The UK's Embarrassment Is Palpable Right Now

Those at the top of leading British establishments are not exactly setting a shining example at the moment.
Boris Johnson, Cressida Dick and Prince Andrew have all been heavily criticised recently
Boris Johnson, Cressida Dick and Prince Andrew have all been heavily criticised recently

The royals, Boris Johnson and the Met Police have all been accused of not meeting the standards of integrity expected from those at the top of the British establishment – and people cannot contain their embarrassment anymore.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s been happening.

1. Boris Johnson and partygate

The prime minister has been facing intense backlash in recent months over the allegations that No.10 was hosting parties throughout lockdown.

He ordered an internal inquiry led by civil servant Sue Gray into the claims, after the police announced that it had no intention of investigating the potential breach of Covid rules.

However, Gray uncovered enough evidence of criminal activity to encourage the police to launch a probe after all. Twelve parties are now being investigated.

Johnson also had to fill out a questionnaire from the police about the alleged parties last week. Many Tories – including former attorney general Jeremy Wright – are calling for him to resign if he is found to have breached Covid rules.

2. Simon Case and partygate

It then emerged late last year that he had attended a gathering himself, held in his own office back in December 2020, meaning Case had to step down from leading the inquiry and hand it over to senior civil servant Sue Gray.

This gathering is now one of the 12 occasions being investigated by the police.

3. Prince Charles’ aide

The Met has just launched an inquiry into one of Prince Charles’ closest aides, Michael Fawcett, following allegations he was orchestrating a “cash for honours” scheme.

The probe stems from claims that a Saudi billionaire secured a CBE and British citizenship after donating to Charles’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation, which Fawcett was heading up at the time.

Clarence House maintains that the Prince of Wales had “no knowledge” of his aide’s actions but has promised that he will assist with the probe.

Anti-monarchy group Republic has even alleged that both Charles and Fawcett may have breached the Honours (Prevention Of Abuses) Act 1925, although the police have clarified there have not been any arrests or interviews under caution yet.

4. Prince Andrew’s civil case

News of this probe from the police comes just one day after the Duke of York confirmed he will pay an undisclosed amount to Virginia Giuffre to close the American civil case she had brought against him.

Andrew has just agreed to pay (an estimated £12million) to settle with Giuffre’s civil case of sexual assault against him before it goes to a jury trial.

Andrew is not currently under a police investigation either in the US or the UK, as the Met has repeatedly confirmed it will not look into Giuffre’s allegations, even though she claims one occasion of sexual assault occurred in London.

Yet, there has been some speculation that Giuffre could still talk to law enforcement in the US, despite having a confidential agreement with Andrew, while calls for the Met to launch another inquiry into his behaviour have resurfaced following news of the settlement.

5. The Met Police and the watchdog

Dame Cressida Dick, the Met Police commissioner, resigned last week after London mayor Sadiq Khan said he had no confidence in her plans to reform the service.

It followed the revelations from the police watchdog that that the force had a culture of misogyny, racism, homophobia, discrimination and harassment.

Dick faced intense backlash during her time at the head of the Met, including furore over the handling of Sarah Everard’s death and the police’s slow response to partygate.

There are now concerns that the ongoing investigation into No.10′s parties could be affected by a change of leadership in the Met as well.

And how has everyone reacted?

Before You Go