Partygate: No 10 braced for next big twists in saga – BBC

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

After many, many weeks, Westminster is braced overnight for the next big twists in the Partygate saga.
Quite rightly, the war in Ukraine has been sucking up much of the government's and Parliament's focus in recent weeks.
That has released one form of pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and replaced it with another more serious in nature as he, together with allies, tries to cope with a grave conflict.
But don't forget how much trouble Mr Johnson and his team were in, over multiple allegations of breaking the Covid-19 regulations they themselves set.
Even the minimalist version of the official Whitehall report into what went on was scathing, citing, "serious leadership failures" – near condemnation in civil-servant speak.
To refresh your memory, you can read Sue Gray's initial findings here.
Whether you are bothered about what really happened – whether there was birthday cake and candles or warm white wine – a significant chunk of Conservative MPs were angry enough about it, and annoyed enough about Downing Street's handling of the saga, that they were thinking about life after Mr Johnson.
A trickle, not a flood believed it meant it was time for him to go. And many more were watching and waiting until the police gave their verdict on whether he broke the law – or evidence emerged suggesting he'd committed a political offence of misleading Parliament.
The prime minister himself was aware enough of the danger to sack several staff, and make big changes to his team.
Some time on Tuesday, the Met is expected to provide their first conclusions. The force has contacted as many as 100 different people, and made public its intention to interview some of them.
Sources in government reckon the first batch of fines will be announced, perhaps more than 15, even 20.
What we don't know, and neither does Number 10 seem to at this stage, is whether Mr Johnson will be the name of one of those in the frame.
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Watch: What has Boris Johnson said before about alleged No 10 parties?
What does seem to be the case is that whichever event, whoever attended, the police have found evidence that the law was broken.
It is also worth saying that the likely timetable for all of this has already chopped and changed. I'm told on Monday afternoon there was "toing and froing".
It's not impossible that it could slip. The political landscape has shifted significantly since the peak of the angst over Partygate (as I wrote about here).
But Mr Johnson's colleagues know that could change, and in the coming days, with the police's first conclusions now near, it is not impossible to imagine that it could shift again.
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