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No new ‘Partygate’ probe against UK’s Johnson: police

LONDON (AFP) – Boris Johnson will not face another formal probe into allegations that he broke COVID lockdown laws at the United Kingdom (UK) prime minister’s country residence, police announced on Tuesday.

Officers said in May that they were looking into possible rule-breaking at Chequers involving Johnson, his family and friends, at a time when legal limits on social gatherings were in place.

Other “potential breaches” at Downing Street of the laws the government ordered the public to follow were also assessed.

But in a joint statement, Thames Valley Police and London’s Metropolitan Police said the events, alleged to have taken place between June 2020 and May 2021, “do not meet the retrospective criteria for opening an investigation”.

Johnson, 59, and more than 120 government officials, previously received police fines for holding a series of gatherings at Downing Street during the pandemic.

The revelations caused public outrage and contributed to his resignation last July. He insisted the latest accusations were false.

A parliamentary committee recently concluded that Johnson repeatedly lied to MPs, and was in contempt of parliament, ruling that he would have been suspended for 90 days had he not quit as a lawmaker.

The long-running “Partygate” affair is not fully over for the ruling Conservative party, as the Met said it was reopening an investigation into a party held at its party headquarters in December 2020.

Photos and videos published in the British media of the so-called “jingle and mingle” event showed Tory staffers drinking and dancing. The Met said it was also opening an investigation into potential breaches of coronavirus regulations at parliament, also in December 2020.

PHOTO: XINHUA
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