In the UK it is proving true that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Since photos have found their way to the public showing the prime minister surrounded by employees and in front of empty bottles with a raised glass, the never-ending "Partygate" affair has appeared in a new light for many.

How can Boris Johnson's assurance that he never knowingly disregarded corona rules be reconciled with the documents, they ask.

And why did the police, who apparently knew the photos, send a fine notice to at least one participant in the meeting, but not to the master of the house who was present?

Jochen Buchsteiner

Political correspondent in London.

  • Follow I follow

The latter question was asked by several opposition politicians on Tuesday, but also by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The photos "clearly documented" that there was a party and Johnson "caught in the act", said the Labor politician who is responsible for the strategic direction of the London police force.

The police must now "explain how they came to their decisions" and why they have not imposed more fines.

The Liberal Democrats lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Inspectorate.

A police spokesman only said on Tuesday that there was nothing to add to the statements after the end of the investigation.

On Thursday, however, the acting chief of police is expected before a committee of the London City Parliament.

While several Tory MPs were critical of the photos on Tuesday, operational Conservative Party leader Grant Shapps downplayed their importance as part of a "broadly lit territory".

"The question is, was he (Johnson) in the office for a party?

And the answer is very clear: no.

He stopped by to say thank you and to raise a glass for a colleague who was saying goodbye. ”The public knew all of this, but now there are also pictures, he said.

Shapps recalled that Johnson himself admitted to wrongdoing and therefore made organizational changes at his headquarters.

The photos were taken on November 13, 2020 in the office of former communications chief Lee Cain, a confidant of Dominic Cummings, Johnson's fired chief adviser.

The photos have raised awareness of the so-called Gray report, which newspaper reports say could be released this Wednesday.

It should contain a detailed account of all questionable gatherings at 10 Downing Street during the corona pandemic, possibly including additional footage.

The work of a lower house committee investigating whether the prime minister lied to parliament is not yet complete.

Johnson was surprised last December when an MP asked if there had been a party at his official residence on November 13 of the previous year.

He replied at the time: "No, but I'm sure whatever happened, the rules were observed at all times."