Boris Johnson could not be happier that the Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into the lockdown parties at No10.

This shock resulted in the shaking Prime Minister not telling the Cabinet about the information, even though he was informed shortly before today’s weekly meeting of his top-ranking team.

While Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was announcing to the world that her officers would probe a number of events at No10 ‘in relation to potential breaches of Covid regulations’, the Cabinet continued its discussions blissfully unaware of the impending crisis.

But by lunchtime, Mr Johnson had recovered his composure sufficiently to insist that he welcomed the police move, saying it would ‘give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters’. It could be.

No one at Downing Street seems likely to be enthralled by the investigation.

It is likely that the street has the highest concentration of officers from the police force in the country.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick arrives at New Scotland Yard in London today as it was announced the force will launch an investigation into parties held in 10 Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic

Cressida Dick, Met Police Commissioner arrives in London at New Scotland Yard today. This is because it was announced that the force would launch an investigation into the parties held at 10 Downing Street in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The rule is that police officers must remain out of buildings and should concentrate on the job they are supposed to do, which is protecting the heart of Government.

Sue Gray, Whitehall Ethics Chief was responsible for the investigation. This had serious implications on morale.

A police inquiry in which Dame Cressida said officers would ‘follow the evidence’ is a different level of threat, forcing officials to consult lawyers and spend vital hours preparing their statements.

In 2006 during the peak of the Cash-for-Honours scandal, No10 saw its last police call.

The resulting inquiry paralysed the Labour government for 16 months and saw then PM Tony Blair interviewed by detectives three times – as a witness rather than a suspect.

This time, the potential offenses are less serious.

Cash-for-honours inquiries led to arrests that could have resulted in prison sentences.

This time, most of those involved face nothing more severe than a £100 fixed penalty notice.

Boris Johnson and staff pictured with wine in Downing Street garden in May 2020

Boris Johnson, staff and wine at Downing Street Garden in May 2020

Johnson remains confident that Johnson will be cleared. No10 stated yesterday to reporters that he did not believe Johnson had broken the law.

There is some hope among the PM’s allies that the police probe might also limit the political fallout from Miss Gray’s report.

At one point today it looked like the release of her investigation might be delayed until after the police inquiry – potentially pushing it back months.

Even long-time Boris-haters like Theresa May’s former chief of staff Gavin Barwell acknowledged that the apparently bleak situation was not entirely bad news for the Prime Minister.

Lord Barwell grudgingly conceded: ‘Given that time is his only friend, anything that delays the publication of the Gray report – which for many MPs had become make-their-mind-up time – has at least some upside.’

However, he insisted that the development was ‘definitely bad news’ for the wider Conservative Party. By yesterday evening it appeared that most, if not all, of Miss Gray’s findings will be released in the coming days – possibly as soon as tomorrow.

There is still a hope that a British sense of fair play might persuade some wobbling Tory MPs to hold off from submitting letters of no confidence in the PM until the police inquiry reports – a process that will certainly take weeks and probably months.

Much would depend on whether or not the PM gets a fixed penalty notice.

If he is, then the consequences are grave – any sitting Prime Minister might struggle to survive a conviction for breaking a law he imposed on millions of others.

Although the PM can appeal any fixed penalty notice in theory, it is possible that the appeal could be denied.

There is still a chance for the PM to be exonerated.

Even though Johnson wasn’t present at the most extreme events, such a chaotic leaving party in No10 basement that featured a DJ, a wine suitcase and an attendant, Johnson didn’t even attend.

It ended with a senior adviser breaking the swing of the PM’s young son Wilf in the garden in the small hours of the morning of Prince Philip’s funeral.

Police are expected to investigate the now notorious ‘bring your own booze’ party in the No10 garden in May 2020 at which Mr Johnson said he was present for 25 minutes.

But the PM insists he believed the gathering was a ‘work event’ despite the presence of trestle tables loaded with food and drink.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street today following the announcement that the Met Police is investigating several parties that took place in his office and government departments during Covid lockdowns

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has left 10 Downing Street after the Met Police announced that it is looking into several incidents that occurred in his office as well as government departments during Covid lockdowns

Do you think police are going to fine him just for walking out to an event with his team in his backyard?

The No10 ‘birthday party’ involved Mr Johnson being presented with a cake by his wife in the presence of officials and designer Lulu Lytle.

Again, it would be a bold police officer who risked ousting a Prime Minister by handing him a £100 ticket for that.

Johnson could not make it that far.

Some MPs were still mutinous and warned that publication of Gray’s report could be a trigger to them submitting letters of no confidence.

If they go ahead with the threats, Mr Johnson could face a vote of no confidence while he is under investigation by police – and trying to shore up the Western alliance against Russia as it apparently prepares to invade Ukraine.

In calmer times, the Russian threat alone would be enough to persuade MPs to hold off – let alone with the lingering pandemic and looming cost of living crisis.

The public opinion is whipping up MPs and they are now in high agitation. To see whether they stick or turn, the Prime Minister is now in a nervous waiting game.