Earlier this year, a report by Sue Gray revealed that 16 separate alleged gatherings were being investigated in Number 10. Gray later concluded that some of these events “should not have been allowed to take place.”
She went on to say “too little thought” was given to public health concerns and confirmed that the Metropolitan Police was investigating 12 of these events, on eight separate dates for alleged coronavirus rule-breaking.
That included the 20 May 2020 “bring your own booze” event in Downing Street’s garden and the PM’s birthday on June 19, 2020.
She went onto say “there were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.”
Speaking about the scandal to NME, Okereke has criticised the response and lack of culpability for the alleged events.
“Boris has been proved to lie to Parliament and nothing has happened,” he told NME. “They’re waiting, hoping that [partygate] is going to go away and because of the war it looks like the pressure is off him. But it hasn’t gone away. It might not be dominating news cycles but it hasn’t gone away.
“He’s gonna struggle meeting ordinary people in public. Someone’s gonna come up to him and say, ‘While you and your friends were partying in lockdown, my nan died’. Everywhere he goes, someone is going to come up and tell him that. We mustn’t forget that.
“How do you explain to your five-year-old child that the person who is in charge of us, our leader right now, is a liar and is continually lying and continually getting away with it? He’s not operating in a vacuum; it has consequences. Yeah, I do think it feeds down.”
This week, police have issued 20 fixed-penalty notices for breaches of Covid rules in Number 10, but Johnson has, as yet, not formally accepted that any law has been broken.
The Metropolitan Police said those who received the fines would not be named publicly, according to the guidance for issuing fixed-penalty notices. They added that there was still a “significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed”, with further fines issued if there is enough evidence, according to The Guardian.
After Sue Gray’s report was published, Downing Street said in a statement to the BBC that the Prime Minister would “ask Sue Gray to update her work in light of what is found” by the Metropolitan Police, when they have finished their inquiries.
In the House of Commons, Johnson said he accepted the report’s findings in full.
He added: “I am sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the British public think Johnson should “do the decent thing and resign” but went on to say the Prime Minister is “a man without shame”.