The Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, was interviewed by Mishal Husain on the Radio 4 Today Programme this morning. At about 08.20 he was pressed on the party allegedly held in Downing Street shortly before Christmas last year. He said that he had been “briefed” in preparation for the interview, and been assured that anything that happened was “within the rules.”
Ms Husain asked him how it could have been within the rules. Mr Malthouse did not explain. He was not an investigator, he said, and if there was a party, which he was neither admitting nor denying, he was not at it. He simply accepted what he had been told which seems to have been the bare fact that it was “within the rules.”
There seems little doubt that a party did take place in Downing Street on 18th December 2020. Although the reports have been described as “unsubstantiated, anonymous claims” by the Deputy Prime Minister, there has been no denial of their substance.
No-one from the government has attempted to explain the basis on which the party could have been lawfully held. That may be because there is no explanation, or it may be because the explanation is more embarrassing than silence.
I’m afraid what follows necessarily involves an uncomfortably close look at some rather turgid law. But this is a legal blog, so if you’ve read this far you may be expecting that. Continue reading “Did Boris Johnson break the law with the Downing Street party?”