THE Metropolitan Police will investigate "a number of events" that took place in Downing Street and Whitehall over the last two years, Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has said.

The force will investigate allegations of breaches of coronavirus rules across offices of the UK Government but the number and details of those which Scotland Yard will be looking into are not clear.

Officers are now investigating the potential breaches after being passed information from the partygate inquiry being led by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

The Cabinet Office inquiry being led by Gray is not expected to report its findings this week as it was previously thought that it would.

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Dick told the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee: “We have a long-established and effective working relationship with the Cabinet Office, who have an investigative capability.

“As you well know they have been carrying out an investigation over the last few weeks.

“What I can tell you this morning is that as a result of the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and, secondly, my officers’ own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.”

She added that the force will "not be giving a running commentary" of the investigations but there will be updates at “significant points”.

Dick said investigations are carried out into “the most serious and flagrant type of breach” where individuals knew they were committing an offence or “ought to have known”.

The Met Commissioner also said that the fact an investigation is under way does not mean that fixed penalty notices will be issued in relation to every event or to every person involved.

She said “several other events” that appeared to have taken place in Downing Street and Whitehall had also been assessed, but they were not thought to have reached the threshold for criminal investigation.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson had birthday party during 2020 Covid lockdown

Defending her force's approach to the mounting allegations surrounding alleged breaches of Covid laws at No 10 and Whitehall, Dick said: "We police without fear or favour. We police impartially and we police in an operationally independent manner.

“I myself have … investigated more politically charged investigations, and investigations involving members of the Government, members of the civil service and other elected officials – many more than any other senior police officer, I would suggest.

“And I have always done that and I will always do that impartially.”

She said she understood the “deep public concern” about the allegations in the media about the parties.

“The vast majority of people have acted responsibly during the pandemic, many, many people – including many Londoners and my colleagues – have made huge sacrifices and they have suffered considerable loss during the pandemic.”

The National: Undated handout file photo issued by GOV.UK of Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who is leading an investigation into lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall. Issue date: Thursday January

Commenting on the ongoing investigation being led by Gray (above), which has been expected to report its findings this week, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing.

“There is ongoing contact with the Metropolitan Police Service.”

A UK Government minister will now be forced to respond to Commons questions about the status of the Sue Gray investigation into the partygate row following the Metropolitan Police’s announcement.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has been granted an urgent question on the issue at around 12.30pm.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories blank BBC again as Boris Johnson 'sticks two fingers up' at UK

Rayner welcomed the police investigation into Downing Street parties and branded the Prime Minister a "national distraction".

She said: "With Boris Johnson's Downing Street now under police investigation, how on earth can he think he can stay on as prime minister?

"Millions of people are struggling to pay the bills, but Boris Johnson and his government are too wrapped up in scandal to do anything about it.

"Boris Johnson is a national distraction. Conservative MPs should stop propping him up and he should finally do the decent thing and resign."

The National:

Commenting on the news that the Met will now investigate lockdown parties, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP (above) said: "Boris Johnson's position is completely untenable. The Prime Minister has admitted he broke the rules, he has lied to parliament, and he is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

"Tory MPs must finally do the decent thing and remove him from office. If they fail to act, they will destroy any last remnants of public trust in this arrogant and out of touch Tory government.

"People in Scotland are looking on in horror at the sleaze and corruption that has engulfed Westminster. A change of Prime Minister is necessary but the only lasting fix is for Scotland to become an independent country and escape the broken Westminster system for good."