Conservative minister rules out new investigation into allegations of illegal meeting in Johnson’s apartment
According to The Guardian. Chris Philp welcomes “incredibly comprehensive” investigation, but Labour says it is “another cover-up”
The minister ruled out a new investigation into allegations of an illegal meeting in Boris Johnson’s apartment during the lockdown, which was not addressed by the Sue Gray inquiry, saying there had already been an “incredibly comprehensive” examination of the wider subject.
Labor called for an investigation into leaked text messages that said Johnson and his wife Carrie met with two friends at their apartment on the prime minister’s birthday, June 19, 2020, when communication was not allowed indoors.
The evidence was not mentioned in last week’s report on illegal social activities in and around No. 10, released last week by Gray, a senior Cabinet official. Labor said it looked like “another cover-up.”
Boris and Carrie Johnson.
Boris Johnson celebrated his birthday indoors during the quarantine
But Chris Philp, the junior minister for culture, media and sports, told Sky News that he felt there was no need for further scrutiny: “We’ve had an incredibly comprehensive set of investigations that have been going on for almost six months.
“Obviously, Sue Gray’s investigation was published last week. In her investigation, she interviewed dozens, if not hundreds of people, using emails, texts and everything else. And we had the Metropolitan Police investigation, which again took several months, and they conducted it with full police authority.
“So, after two separate investigations, including police investigations over many months, it’s not immediately obvious to me that we need more, when this has rightfully been the most investigated set of incidents in recent memory.”
It was alleged that a Downing Street aide received a message from Johnson’s wife confirming that she was with two male friends at the apartment where the prime minister later joined them.
According to the Sunday Times , the aide wrote to Cabinet Secretary Simon Keyes, saying they had ignored an offer to share the messages with Gray’s team.
But a Cabinet source said ignoring such evidence was categorically wrong. They added that sharing the material with the aide was part of the information that was provided to police.
Philp said that both Gray and the police “reached out to everyone, including this aide,” offering to hand over the information, and that he believed an offer had also been made simply to review the texts, while stressing that he had “no inside information.”
He added: “My gut reaction is that there have been two incredibly thorough investigations, and unless there’s something really striking that wasn’t previously known, I think they’ve been studied very carefully.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said the text messages had been withheld and that the public “deserves the truth about why the holding of a party in the prime minister’s apartment on his own birthday has not yet been made public.”
A cabinet spokesman defended the credibility of Gray’s report, saying it was “impartially compiled and its contents represent the findings and conclusions of the investigative team alone.”
It was previously reported that a gathering with food and alcohol and loud Abba music was held at the Johnsons’ apartment on Nov. 13, 2020. Gray acknowledged that she stopped investigating this particular event when the Met began its investigation, and chose not to continue the investigation thereafter.