“In light of recent reports about Downing Street gatherings in 2020, I would like to outline my position. I have to say that I am appalled and shocked at the reports of further gatherings in May last year that are now coming to light this week. It is completely right that the House of Commons Speaker granted an Urgent Question to the Opposition on this subject today to question the Government. This further underlines the seriousness of the allegations. It is vital, if we are to maintain public trust, that Government employees, politicians and officials follow the same rules as the rest of the country. This is now more important than ever as, understandably and necessarily, the public health guidelines have been strengthened in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. People up and down the land have made incredible sacrifices, some of them personally heart breaking, to obey the public health rules and quite rightly they are indignant and upset about this. I completely share their feelings.
I am pleased that the Prime Minister did the right thing in apologising unreservedly in the Chamber of the House of Commons in December and I welcome that he started investigations at that point. Crucially, the investigation will now include the alleged gathering that took place on 20th May 2020. We need to see the result of that investigation and what the findings tell us. If rules have been broken then quite rightly there should be serious consequences.
The investigation will be conducted by Sue Gray, Second Permanent Secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. She will ascertain and report the facts and I am confident she will carry out this task in the thorough and independent fashion it rightly deserves.
In addition, because this also involves possible breaking of the law, it is very important that if any evidence is found as a result of that investigation, that it should be passed to the Metropolitan Police for further investigation.”