Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is facing a potential police probe and the prospect of yet another political disaster after emails have emerged of Downing Street hosting a boozy bash while the nation was under strict lockdown.
The Metropolitan Police has said that it is in contact with the Cabinet Office concerning reports of another lockdown breaking “bring your own booze” party held at the Prime Minister’s residence, Number 10 Downing Street, on May 20th, just days after the infamous garden gathering, which the government claimed was merely a work meeting.
“The Metropolitan Police service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office,” the Met said in a statement.
On Monday, an email from Prime Minister Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds to over 100 Downing Street employees on May 20th, 2020 shared by ITV News said: “After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.
“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”
According to the news network, some 40 staff, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his now-wife Carrie Johnson, gathered in the garden for the bash.
Less than an hour before people gathered in Number 10 for the party, the government’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden held a press conference that very evening in which he warned the public to refrain from mixing in large groups.
“You can meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor, public place provided that you stay two metres apart,” Dowden said at the time.
UK Government Accused of Having Yet Another Lockdown Party https://t.co/pydYBpW88V
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 9, 2022
The email leak will be harder for the government to defend than the previous scandal concerning a photograph of the Prime Minister, his then-girlfriend and others sipping wine and eating cheese in the Downing Street garden. The government insisted that it was a merely a work meeting.
It appears that the first fall guy from the latest scandal will be the author of the email, the PM’s Private Secretary Martin Reynolds, who has run Johnson’s private office since 2019 and was reportedly tasked with enforcing coronavirus measures in the PM’s office. Opposition leaders may not be satisfied by such a sacrificial lamb, however.
Commenting on the scandal, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner said: “The series of revelations about parties and other events at Downing Street have made a mockery of all who diligently followed the rules – often at great personal cost.”
“Boris Johnson repeatedly claimed that no rules were broken in Number 10 but the truth is out. He misled the public and misled the House.” She continued: “Of course it’s right there’s an inquiry but we shouldn’t need that for the prime minister to tell the truth. Boris Johnson should come to the House of Commons today and finally come clean.”
Rayner, who asked an urgent question in Parliament on Tuesday told the House: “the public have already drawn their own conclusions. [The Prime Minister] can run but he can’t hide.”
She asked — although the Prime Minister was not present, having said another minister in his stead: “…the simple central question today: did the Prime Minister attend the event on the 20th of May, 2020? It won’t wash to blame this on a few junior civil servants, the Prime Minister sets the tone. If the Prime Minister was there, surely he knew.”
Writing on social media, the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer said: “Boris Johnson, your deflections and distractions are absurd. Not only did you know about the parties in Downing Street, you attended them.
“Stop lying to the British public. It’s time to finally come clean.”
Boris Johnson: 'I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules, have not been following the rules, because I was also furious.' pic.twitter.com/PE8a5XrCRd
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) January 10, 2022
In December, the Prime Minister took to the floor of the House of Commons to express his views with another apparent breach of lockdown restrictions, when footage emerged of Downing Street staff holding a Christmas Party in 2020.
“I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules, have not been following the rules, because I was also furious,” Johnson said last month.
The apparent lockdown hypocrisy from the government and the Prime Minister himself has severely damaged the leader of the past two months.
A poll conducted by YouGov prior to the latest lockdown scandal found that over a third of Tory party members believe that the Prime Minister should resign and 38 per cent stating that they believe Mr Johnson has been doing a bad job as leader.
At present, according to the poling agency, just 26 per cent of the public have a favourable opinion of Mr Johnson, compared 56 per cent holding a negative view.
Nigel Farage Warns Boris Johnson May Be Out ‘Sooner Than Anybody Thinks’ https://t.co/QGH3E3xaVd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 20, 2021
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