Bernard Jenkin’s wife’s lockdown birthday party will be the subject of a police investigation

Bernard Jenkin with his wife, Anne

Bernard Jenkin with his wife, Anne. He previously denied attending a cocktail party – Alan Davidson/Shutterstock

Scotland Yard opens an investigation into alleged breaches of coronavirus regulations at a rally attended by Sir Bernard Jenkin on December 8, 2020.

The Metropolitan Police also confirmed they were reopening an investigation into potential breaches of lockdown rules at a Christmas party held at the Conservative Party headquarters in Matthew Parker Street on December 14, 2020.

However, no inquiry is to be opened into allegations that Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, broke the rules at rallies he held in Downing Street and Chequers.

Sir Bernard, who is a member of the privileges committee which delivered a damning verdict on Mr Johnson’s conduct on partygate, has been accused of breaking the rules himself by attending an event allegedly to celebrate the 65th birthday of Baroness Jenkin, his wife, despite a ban on indoor socializing in London.

A rally with cakes and drinks was reportedly hosted by Dame Eleanor Laing, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

Sir Bernard has previously denied attending a drink and an ally said no rules were broken, while Dame Eleanor insists she took advice on the restrictions.

On Tuesday evening Sir Bernard said: ‘It is not appropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Johnson ‘treated disgracefully’

David Campbell Bannerman, a former Conservative MEP and an ally of Mr Johnson, said: ‘Laing should step down until these allegations that she is hosting a drinks party, allegedly including Bernard Jenkin and Ann Jenkin, be examined.

“The Speaker, Sir Lindsay, needs his own inquiry into his actions for the good of Parliament.

“If the privileges committee were a legal matter, the judge would be removed from office and a new trial would be ordered. Parliament has treated Boris Johnson shamefully and unfairly. This investigation should qualify as a mistrial and should be reopened.

Dame Eleanor made it clear she would not resign, saying: ‘As this is a live inquiry any further inquiries should be directed to the Met Police.’

Lord Cruddas, another Johnson ally, said: “I suppose they must keep quiet if there is a police investigation, but Jenkin should resign immediately as he is under investigation, and Dame Eleanor should not remain silent about its own position for the sake of the integrity of the commons.

Accused of “monstrous hypocrisy”

Mr Johnson was approached for comment. After the charges against Sir Bernard were first reported, the former Prime Minister accused him of ‘monstrous hypocrisy’ and claimed he could no longer be considered a ‘valid judge’.

In his letter to Dame Harriet Harman, who led the Privileges Committee inquiry, Mr Johnson said: ‘If he did attend an event that was clearly against the rules, he would be guilty of doing exactly what he claims I did.”

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “Following the assessment of documents relating to a gathering in Parliament, the Met is opening an investigation into potential breaches of regulations at an event on December 8, 2020.”

The Met will also reopen an investigation into a ‘jingle and mingle’ party allegedly attended by Conservative Party staff who had worked on the campaign of London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey.

It had already been investigated by the police, but no fines were imposed despite it being a professional event.

However, a video then emerged in which guests could be seen dancing with each other in front of a full buffet table. Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said it told a “much richer and clearer” story.

A Met spokesperson said: “Following the assessment of new evidence not previously provided to officers, the Met is now reopening an investigation into potential breaches of regulations at an event in Matthew Parker Street. on December 14, 2020.”

Daisy Cooper, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: ‘Once again Tory politicians are being accused of breaking the rules we have all been asked to follow.

“Rishi Sunak must confirm that he will request that honors be withdrawn from anyone found guilty of breaking the law. Anything less would be a complete mockery of his promise to lead with integrity.

“He should also step in to prevent Shaun Bailey from taking his place as a peer while this investigation unfolds. There is no way Shaun Bailey will be allowed to join the House of Lords while he is under police investigation.

No investigation into the former Prime Minister

Allegations that Mr Johnson broke the rules with a series of Downing Street and Checkers rallies in 2020 and 2021 will not be investigated, the Met said.

Scotland Yard received information about the gatherings from Cabinet Office officials who were combing through the former Prime Minister’s diaries in preparation for the Covid inquiry.

A Met spokesman said: “The Met and Thames Valley Police have been assessing material forwarded by the Cabinet Office relating to potential breaches of the regulations between June 2020 and May 2021 at Downing Street and Checkers.

“Based on an assessment of this material and an account of the diary entries, and after also seeking further clarification, Met and Thames Valley Police have each assessed the events in their jurisdiction and concluded that they did not meet the retrospective criteria to open an investigation.

“The Met and Thames Valley Police continue to reserve the right to review the assessments in the event that further material evidence comes to light.”

A government source said: ‘Officials informed the police about Boris’s diary entries without informing their ministers. Ministers are happy that this matter can be left in the past where it belongs.

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