Police were called to No 10 after partygoer set off alarm

A police officer interrupted a Christmas party at Downing Street last year after revellers accidentally set off an alarm, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

“‘Ello, ‘Ello, ‘Ello… now what ‘ave we got ‘ere, eh?” – Owl

George Grylls, Fiona Hamilton www.thetimes.co.uk (Extract of salient new material)

Sir Stephen House, the deputy commissioner of the Met, said that an officer witnessed the gathering on December 18, 2020 attended by about 50 people and was speaking to detectives investigating Downing Street parties.

The revelation came after the Met sent questionnaires to 88 people, including the prime minister, accused of attending lockdown gatherings

House told City Hall’s police and crime committee that the officer had already given evidence to Sue Gray, the senior civil servant tasked with investigating lockdown gatherings.

House said: “One officer was involved in responding with a civilian custodian, who works for No 10, to a silent alarm which we believe had been pressed in error. That officer was spoken to by Sue Gray and will be spoken to by ourselves.”

House rejected criticisms, however, that officers turned a blind eye to gatherings in No 10 and said their duty was to prevent a terrorism attack.

“I think maybe people have the idea that there’s tipsy revellers walking down Whitehall with Christmas hats on and blowing poppers, carrying bottles of clanking wine,” he said.

“Many of the circumstances that we’re investigating were events that took place at the end of the working day or as an adjunct to the working day for people who were already in the building and had been there since 7am or 8am.

“Armed officers do not routinely walk through the Cabinet Office or No 10.”

However, he added that if officers knew what was happening and should have intervened “we will follow up on that”.

House said that the investigation was “operating at pace” and was still expected to take weeks rather than months.

He said that detectives could send out fresh questionnaires if new suspects emerged in the answers they received.

Some alleged partygoers have already sent their questionnaires back and their “reasonable excuse” is being reviewed. House said the Met would start issuing fines if the excuse did not stack up.

Boris Johnson has become the first British prime minister to be questioned under caution by the police, a leaked form appeared to confirm last night.

The Met is sending questionnaires to 88 people accused of attending lockdown gatherings as part of a criminal investigation into a dozen Downing Street parties in 2020 and last year.

In the forms, which are equivalent to a police interview, people are asked to explain and justify their presence at gatherings….