METROPOLITAN police chief Cressida Dick has announced an investigation into "offences" across Whitehall during lockdown. 

The force has come under fire in recent months for refusing to probe the revelations about gatherings and parties in Downing Street and other UK Government departments during the pandemic. 

Today the force Commissioner Ms Dick has announced a change in stance following information received from Sue Gray, the civil servant investigating the saga. 

The Met's confirmation that they will now investigate may, however, lead to a delay in Ms Gray's report being published due to the ongoing police probe.

HeraldScotland:

A Government minister will be forced to respond to Commons questions about the status of the report into the partygate row following the Met’s announcement.

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

Speaking this morning, Ms Dick said: "As a result of the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and my officers own I can confirm the Met are investigating a number of offences that took place in Downing Street and Whitehall over the past two years that appear to have breached regulations."

It comes after Downing Street confirmed last night that Boris Johnson had attended a gathering for his birthday in June 2020, in the Cabinet room at No.10.

Pressure is continuing to grow for Mr Johnson as he faces calls to resign from every opposition party as well as from within his own ranks. 

Dame Cressida declined to say which alleged parties are being investigated, nor would she put a timeline on when officers could detail their findings.

“The fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved,” she said.

“We will not be giving a running commentary on our current investigations.”

But there will be updates at “significant points”, she added.

Dame Cressida 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.

It was not immediately clear whether the opening of the police investigation will further delay the publication of the inquiry, which had been expected later this week.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing.

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

Labour's Ms Rayner welcomed the investigation.

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.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.