Liberal Democrat Daisy Cooper called on the IOPC to look into the Met’s handling of partygate (Picture: ITV/PA)

The police watchdog is being urged to investigate why the Metropolitan Police did not fine Boris Johnson more than once after pictures emerged appearing to show him drinking at a lockdown-busting party.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was told to examine the Met’s inquiry into the partygate saga by Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper.

She suggested there was one rule for the PM and another for everyone else.

Mr Johnson was shown toasting staff in Downing Street, where alcohol snacks and a discarded red box were seen littered around the room on for spin doctor Lee Cain’s leaving do on November 13, 2020.

Now eyebrows are being raised about Scotland Yard’s handling of the investigation, with the PM not facing a fine for the event, despite being punished for another.

Mr Johnson received a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) over a birthday party in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 but was told he would face no further action over other gatherings covered by the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman inquiry, which looked into events in No 10 and Whitehall.

Junior staff who received FPNs are said to be outraged that more senior colleagues, some of whom lawyered up, did not face fines for events they both attended.

Boris Johnson toasting staff during a national lockdown (Picture: ITV News)

The Met has issued 126 FPNs to 83 people for the events, including on November 13 2020, although the force has not said whether fines were specifically issued for Mr Cain’s leaving drinks.

The force also declined to explain why the Prime Minister was not fined over the leaving party.

But the Lib Dems’ Ms Cooper said: ‘The Met Police need to explain why Boris Johnson wasn’t fined for this event, despite being pictured in an apparent breach of the rules.

‘If anyone else had been pictured at a party like this during lockdown, surely this would have been enough evidence for them to be fined.

‘It does seem that there has been one rule for the Prime Minister and another for everyone else.’

Liberal Democrat Ms Cooper wants an investigation into the Met’s handling of partygate (Picture: PA)

She continued: ‘The complete lack of transparency in this investigation risks doing huge damage to public trust.

‘We need urgent clarity from the Met over why Boris Johnson wasn’t fined when others were.

‘If the Met won’t set out the basis on which they made their decisions, then it’s absolutely right that they should face an investigation.’

The IOPC is thought to be unlikely to agree to her request since most complaints should be directed to the force responsible.

The watchdog usually only considers the most serious cases, such as those involving a death or serious injury following contact with the police.

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Ms Cooper’s request could also be ineligible because complaints can only be made by someone who has directly witnessed an incident or is directly affected by it.

But the Met’s decision-making process has also been questioned by lawyers, with the Good Law Project’s Jolyon Maugham suggesting he would take legal action.

‘We have now had advice from our QC and junior,’ he explained.

‘We will be sending a further judicial review pre-action protocol letter to the Met in relation to the apparent failures in its investigation into the Prime Minister later this week.’

Wine bottles, a red box and various glasses in Downing Street (Picture: ITV News)

Barrister Adam Wagner, who is a writing a book on Covid laws, said that at the time of the November 13 event ‘it was illegal to “participate” in a gathering if that gathering was not reasonably necessary for work.

‘Others got FPNs for this gathering so assume police considered it was illegal. Why not the PM?’

He added it is ‘impossible to understand how attending, raising a glass and making a speech wouldn’t be “participating”.’

Politicians have also piled in to ask how the Met did not fine the PM.

A nurse who organised a small socially-distanced demonstration against NHS staff pay cuts was fined £10,000.

Yet the police have let Boris Johnson off the hook for this? pic.twitter.com/lub8MiJ77n

— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) May 23, 2022

Labour’s Richard Burgon tweeted: ‘A nurse who organised a small socially-distanced demonstration against NHS staff pay cuts was fined £10,000.

‘Yet the police have let Boris Johnson off the hook for this’.

Calling for the looming Sue Gray report to be published in full, a spokesman for London mayor Sadiq Khan added: ‘The mayor understands why Londoners are seeking clarity given these latest revelations.

‘The details of the investigation are a matter for the Met Police and it would be wrong for the mayor – who oversees the Met as police and crime commissioner for London – to intervene in an inquiry investigating his political opponents.’

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