Politics RECAP: Nicola Sturgeon confirmed further easing of restrictions as Scotland Yard launches investigation Boris Johnson and ‘parties’ in Downing Street

Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into potential breaches of coronavirus laws at a “number of events” in Downing Street and Whitehall.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:03 pm

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said on Tuesday that officers were now investigating after being passed information from the Sue Gray inquiry.

As well as a busy day at Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon delivered a Covid update to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

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Nicola Sturgeon update LIVE: First Minister addresses Parliament following restrictions easing as Scotland Yard launches investigation Boris Johnson and ‘parties’ in Downing Street

We will have live updates from around UK politics as we get it.

Politics RECAP: Scotland Yard launches investigation Boris Johnson and ‘parties’ in Downing Street

Last updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2022, 14:23

Boris Johnson thinks it is “entirely right” for the Metropolitan Police to investigate allegations of rule-breaking parties in No 10 and assured everyone will “fully co-operate”, Downing Street has said.

Boris Johnson did not discuss the police investigation with his Cabinet despite having been made aware it would go ahead before their meeting, No 10 has said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “That was confirmed by the police while Cabinet was taking place so he didn’t reference it specifically, he alluded to that at the end of Cabinet but beyond that no.

“He made those comments about ensuring the Government is not deterred from getting on with the job, he didn’t go into detail about the Met given that Cressida Dick made her comments while Cabinet was taking place.”

The spokesman added: “The Prime Minister was made aware shortly before Cressida Dick announced that in her session.”

Asked then if Mr Johnson knew about the investigation before Cabinet, the spokesman replied: “Yes.”

Boris Johnson is facing fresh allegations of lockdown rule-breaking (Photo: Getty Images)

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner called for clarity about whether a decision to delay Sue Gray inquiry’s was made by Downing Street or the police.

In a series of questions to Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis, Ms Rayner asked: “Can he assure the House that the Sue Gray report will be published in full, not just the summary? And will the accompanying evidence be provided?

“Can he clarify for the House what Sue Gray and her team will be doing while the police conduct their investigation?

“Can the minister confirm whether the decision to delay the publication of the Sue Gray report was made by the Metropolitan Police or the Government?”

She added: “Given this Government’s record of lost phones, missing messages and minutes, can he assure the House that all evidence from the Gray inquiry will be properly held by the Cabinet Office?”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Boris Johnson should resign now instead of waiting for the outcome of the Sue Gray inquiry or Scotland Yard investigation into partygate allegations.

She told broadcasters: “I think he shouldn’t wait either for the police or for Sue Gray’s report. He should just go now.”

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey repeated his call for the Prime Minister to resign, telling the Commons: “It’s clear this Government is now in total meltdown.”

He said: “In the midst of a pandemic and a cost of living crisis, and with Europe on the brink of war in Ukraine, we cannot go on with this chaotic Government. Does the minister accept the Prime Minister’s authority is in tatters?

“Will he advise his boss to do the right thing in the national interest and resign?”

Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis said: “I thank him for his advice on propriety.” The comment was met with loud laughter from the Tory benches, as Mr Ellis said he declined to comment further in response.

Conservative MP Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) said: “It is a longstanding convention in this House that when there are independent inquiries and investigations they are allowed to run their course and prejudgments aren’t made in this House.”

He said: “We really do need to concentrate on matters that really affect our constituents on a day-to-day basis, cost of living, energy prices and so on, as well as the fact that there are 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.”

Downing Street parties: How many parties at Downing Street and who attended?

How many parties were held at Downing Street, which have been confirmed, and who attended them?

With several parties and events revealed to have taken place at Downing Street pending an inquiry, here’s a timeline of when they all took place and which have been confirmed so far.

First Minister begins her Covid-19 statement with the latest daily statistics

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that 8,022 positive cases were reported yesterday through PCR and lateral flow tests.

1,392 people are in hospital with Covid -19 which is 43 fewer than yesterday.

49 people are in intensive care , four fewer than yesterday. This figure includes 15 patients who have been in ICU for more than 28 days.

A further 23 deaths have been reported, taking the total number of deaths under the daily definition to 10,222.

Cases numbers show ‘broadly positive picture’ says FM

FM: “In the 7 days prior to last Tuesday’s statement, almost 70,000 positive cases were identified through PCR and lateral flow testing – just under 10,000 a day.

“In the most recent 7 days, however, there have been just over 50,000 cases – slightly more than 7,000 a day. So reported cases have fallen by just over a quarter.

There have been significant reductions in every age group, except the under 15s - in this younger age group, cases have increased by 41 per cent”

FM says this will reflect the impact of schools returning to some extent and says the government will continue to monitor cases in the under 15s age group closely.

Hospitalisation rates fall says Sturgeon

FM: “As we would have expected, the decline in new cases is now reflected in a fall in the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid.

“In the week to 14 January, 1026 patients with Covid were admitted. In the following week this fell to 704. Hospital occupancy has also fallen. Last week, a total of 1546 people were in hospital with Covid.

“Today, it is 1,392. And the number of people with Covid in intensive care has reduced too - from 59 this time last week to 49 today.”

Further easing of restrictions announced by FM

FM confirms that from Monday January 31 employers should consider implementing hybrid working, rather than following the current guidance which advises working from home.

FM: “Instead of recommending home working whenever practical, the new guidance will pave the way for a phased return to the office.

“It will recommend that, from Monday 31 January, employers should consider implementing hybrid working – following appropriate guidance - with workers spending some time in the office and some time at home.”

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