What’s going on with the Met and partygate?

I don’t understand the logic behind how the Met Police is conducting its probe into unlawful parties at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office. My confusion reached brain-aching proportions after my ITV colleague Anushka Asthana disclosed on Friday that officials had received fixed penalty notices – fines – for attending perhaps the most famous of all the Downing Street events, the Bring Your Own Booze garden party on 20 May 2020, revealed by an email leaked to ITV News. The point is that I know of at least two relatively junior officials who have been informed by the police that they’ve been fined. So there is no longer any doubt this

The problem with the Met’s morality policing

Ah, the last days of summer. Long evenings, sunny weekends, and crusty Extinction Rebellion hippies blocking arterial traffic lanes to the audible grinding of teeth from the police officers tasked with standing by and politely watching their sub-art-school amdram productions, rather than getting on with the business of giving them a much-needed hosing down with Boris’s water cannons. As Charlie Peters has pointed out for the Mail, the impression of police impotence has nothing to do with the willingness of the bobby on the beat to break out a truncheon and apply it liberally to the thorax of middle-class graduates enjoying their day off by making everyone else late for

Priti Patel’s cowardly response to the Clapham Common debacle

Priti Patel’s reaction to the ugly scenes on Clapham Common on Saturday has been to point the finger. ‘Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting. I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened’, she has said. But do we really need to wait for a report to work out what has happened?  Perhaps, instead, the truth is rather simpler: the police were enforcing laws put into places by Priti Patel’s own government. Of course, there is some debate as to whether officers should have exercised more judgement in the applications of these laws. On this point, though, Patel has been clear: