With an investigation by the Cabinet Secretary now under way, The Telegraph has been told that a number of staff members, including No 10 press officers and aides, have already been hauled in for interview.
However, despite government sources suggesting on Monday that the investigation would conclude by the end of this week, it is now thought that Simon Case will not report back until next week at the earliest.
Fresh allegations of Downing Street party during first lockdown
On Thursday, Downing Street denied fresh allegations that Mr Johnson attended a “party” with staff during the first lockdown on May 15 last year, when people were only permitted to meet one other person from outside their household in an outdoor, public space.
Reports by The Guardian and The Independent alleged approximately 20 staff congregated in offices inside No 10 and outside in the garden, where they drank alcohol and ate pizza.
However, a No 10 spokesman insisted the garden had been regularly used by staff for meetings, adding: “On May 15 2020, the Prime Minister held a series of meetings throughout the afternoon, including briefly with the then-Health and Care Secretary and his team in the garden following a press conference.
“The Prime Minister went to his residence shortly after 7pm. A small number of staff required to be in work remained in the Downing Street garden for part of the afternoon and evening.”
The Daily Mirror also reported that civil servants in the Department for Transport held a Christmas Party on December 16 last year – the day that London was plunged into Tier 3 restrictions.
A spokesman for Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, insisted he had “absolutely no idea” the event had taken place.
The spokesman added: “He was not notified or invited and would have banned such a gathering forthwith, had he been made aware that it was being prepared.
“As he was unable to visit his seriously ill father in hospital due to Covid restrictions, he was all too keenly aware of the sacrifices being made by the public during lockdown.”
While Scotland Yard did not confirm the identities of those it wished to speak to in relation to the alleged CCHQ party, it is understood that officers tend to make contact with event organisers when probing alleged lockdown breaches.
In a statement, the force said: “In line with the Met’s policy, officers do not normally investigate breaches of coronavirus regulations when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place.
“However, if significant evidence suggesting a breach of the regulations becomes available, officers may review and consider it.”
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