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Partygate: Tory MP says Boris Johnson should not get 'special treatment' from police

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 10, 2022. (Photo by Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty Images)
A senior Tory MP has said Number 10 should not get "special treatment" during the Metropolitan police's investigation into Partygate. (Getty Images)

A senior Conservative MP has warned that Boris Johnson should not get "special treatment" during the Metropolitan police's investigation into Partygate.

The prime minister has faced a storm of criticism over reports on suspected rule-breaking parties in Downing Street during the pandemic.

The string of gatherings, including on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral, has triggered public outrage both in and out of the Conservative party.

Read more: Am I a fool?' Tory MP whose grandmother died during lockdown tears into Boris Johnson

Civil servant Sue Gray’s interim report last week disclosed that police were investigating 12 different events in No 10 and Whitehall over the course of 2020 and 2021 for possible breaches of COVID rules, one of which took place in the PM's flat.

The prime minister has repeatedly insisted he will cooperate fully with the police investigation and thanked the Met for their work.

However, on Friday, The Times reported he may be considering a private lawyer to challenge allegations about him breaking the law - using the argument that Number 10 is both is home and a workplace.

Read more: Nadine Dorries: 'If he kicked a dog, I'd stop supporting Boris Johnson'

Senior Tory MP, Sir Bob Neill, criticised the move.

"It is completely inappropriate to suggest that there should be any special treatment for anyone involved in these inquiries and any suggestion of political pressure on the police is completely reprehensible," he tweeted on Friday.

"No.10 would do well to disown it."

Legal expert, Adam Wagner, questioned the legal rational of the prime minister.

bob neill
Tory MP Sir Bob Neill joins a growing number of Conservative MPs criticising Number 10. (@neill_bob/Twitter)

"The legal test is that the police “reasonably believe” someone has committed an offence before issuing a fixed penalty notice," he tweeted.

"This will be the same regardless of how important the person is - this is the rule of law".

It comes less than 24-hours after Met police chief Dame Cressida Dick announced she had resigned from her post, hours after she insisted she would stay amid growing public and political anger over her handling of Partygate.

Watch: Cressida Dick resigns with ‘huge sadness and regret’

Dick said that London mayor Sadiq Khan expressing he had lost confidence in her for handling of racism and misogyny in the Met police triggered the resignation.

Read more: 'I'm absolutely pumped': Behind the scenes of Boris Johnson's 24-hour rollercoaster

Since announcing their decision to investigate the parties, the Met have said they have been handed 300 photographs and 500 pages of documents from Gray's inquiry.

This week, officers from what has been named Operation Hillman will begin contacting more than 50 people thought to have been involved in events which are the subject of police inquiries.

Number 10 have said they will tell the public if Boris Johnson is found to have broken the COVID laws and is handed a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) - but there are growing reports that he may still refuse to resign if that happens.

Read more: Jimmy Savile victim ‘furious and upset’ at Boris Johnson’s false slur against Starmer

On Thursday, former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major slammed Johnson over Partygate and he had damaged the UK's international reputation.

"Deliberate lies to parliament have been fatal to political careers - and must always be so," he told an Institute for Government event.

"The lack of trust in the elected portion of our democracy cannot be brushed aside. Parliament has a duty to correct this.

"If it does not, and trust is lost at home, our politics is broken."

Watch: Downing Street parties: Boris Johnson dismisses Sir John Major's claim that partygate has damaged the UK internationally as 'demonstrably untrue'