The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police will review a decision not to investigate a Downing Street Christmas quiz held during coronavirus restrictions, after a new photo was published showing Boris Johnson at the event.
The December 15, 2020 quiz was not among the string of events being investigated by the London police force, which is looking at 12 other gatherings held in Downing Street and Whitehall amid COVID curbs.
In the new photo — published by the Daily Mirror newspaper Wednesday — the U.K. prime minister is pictured standing next to staff who are wearing tinsel. An open bottle of alcohol and food can be seen on the table. Downing Street had previously described the event as a “virtual quiz.”
Hours after the photo was published, the Metropolitan Police said they would review an earlier decision not to include the event in their investigation.
“The MPS previously assessed this event and determined that on the basis of the evidence available at that time, it did not meet the threshold for criminal investigation,” the force said in a statement. “That assessment is now being reviewed.”’
The move will pile fresh pressure on Johnson and his government, who have been rocked by multiple reports of lockdown-breaking parties on government property during the pandemic.
An official report into the matter by senior civil servant Sue Gray found “failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office” in allowing some of the events to go ahead.
Opposition MPs challenged Johnson on the picture as it was published during the weekly bout of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
“It looks a lot like one of the Christmas parties that he told us never happened,” Labour MP Fabian Hamilton said.
“On what the honorable gentleman has just said I am afraid he is completely in error,” Johnson shot back. Cabinet minister Mark Spencer meanwhile told the BBC Wednesday that people in the “real world” did not care about the party claims.
But the prime minister’s former chief aide turned-nemesis, Dominic Cummings, claimed Wednesday there were “waaaaay better pics than that floating around.”