Boris Johnson has been hit by allegations of another party said to have taken place in Downing Street while social restrictions were in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.
With Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray currently compiling her report on a series of social gatherings that could break the rules and due to be submitted before the weekend, and with the Metropolitan Police announcing an investigation, ITV News reported on Monday by the night that a surprise 56th birthday party was held for Mr. Johnson on June 19, 2020.
Led by his partner Carrie Johnson, the cabinet room party is said to have featured up to 30 guests who enjoyed a cake and picnic food from M&S at a time when indoor socializing was still prohibited under the strict conditions of the first national lockdown.
A spokesman for No 10 admitted that the meeting had taken place, but said it was “untrue” that friends of Mr Johnson’s family were staying upstairs in his apartment later that night.
What makes this latest installment in the “Partygate” saga so particularly galling to many is that the Prime Minister, on March 21, 2020, tweeted an incredibly moving handwritten letter he received from a seven-year-old girl named Josephine informing him that he had canceled his own birthday party to support the national effort to prevent Covid-19 and comply with the rules.
Johnson applauded Josephine for her “great example” in her response, which she tweeted with the hashtag #BeLikeJosephine.
A penny for the thoughts of that justifiably sour eight year old now.
As a cabal of equally disillusioned Conservative MPs await Mrs Gray’s verdict and sharpen their pens before penning a few letters of their own to Sir Graham Brady, here’s a look at what Johnson had to say on social media at the height of party season
Two months into the pandemic, when spring brought brighter weather and a bit of relief to a frightened world, it subsequently emerged that the prime minister and his staff sat down to cheese and wine in the garden of 10 Downing. Street and sent out invitations. to a “bring your own drink” party in apparent defiance of their own rules.
On May 15, the Friday the first meeting took place, the Prime Minister told the British public via Twitter: “We can beat this virus together, but only if we all continue to #StayAlert and follow social distancing rules. ”.
Two days later, his emphasis was on the nation defeating the virus “together,” which meant playing by the rules as one.
On the day his Chief Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, invited 100 employees to secretly soak up the sun, the Prime Minister was congratulating celebrated NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore, centenarian, on his knighthood.
Sir Tom, of course, another man who knew the garden well.
The next morning, perhaps with a nasty pain in his temple and a queasy stomach, the prime minister took part in the weekly applause for carers, apparently without a single qualm about the disparity between his public and private conduct.
More parties were supposedly held later that year when the second wave of the virus hit, coinciding with the departure of several top advisers to Mr Johnson, notably Dominic Cummings (whose own excursion to Barnard’s Castle in Durham to break lockdown had caused so much fury), Lee Cain and Cleo Watson.
The prime minister is alleged to have made a farewell address on Mrs Watson’s departure on 27 November at which more drinks were reportedly served.
Just a day earlier, he had tracked down the new three-tier regional social restriction system set to come into effect in December, warning the public in a video message: “If we relax now, we risk losing control of this virus again.”
On the same day, he was regaling us with an account of his visit to a UK Health Security Agency research laboratory in Porton Down, Wiltshire, to inspect the production of rapid lateral flow tests, which subsequently became a integral part of the diagnostic protocol at home.
Johnson described the work of scientists at the facility as “incredibly important” in the accompanying video before quickly turning around and heading back to London to immediately undermine their efforts to keep the country safe.
Despite the nationwide lockdown in November, coronavirus cases surged in the weeks around Christmas, ultimately forcing the prime minister to dash the hopes of millions of families desperate to reunite for the festive season by introducing a new round of measures. hard to stop the spread.
None of which stopped him from saluting the first anniversary of the election of his “people’s government” on December 9, telling the House of Commons that his Cabinet was “keeping its promises.”
Ms. Gray is known to be investigating a “work-related” party that took place at the Gavin Williamson Department of Education the following day.
Four more festive parties were allegedly held on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th respectively for London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey’s campaign team at the Conservative Party headquarters for fans of London’s pub quizzes. Downing Street, to Grant Shapps Transport Department staff and, apparently, to Mr. Johnson’s immediate team.
In the midst of which, the prime minister announced Great British Bake unconditional Prue Leith for receiving her first vaccination and stating, with extraordinary boldness in hindsight: “This Christmas it is vital that everyone exercise as much personal responsibility as possible. Think carefully and in detail about the days ahead and if you can do more to protect yourself and others.”
More in that vein followed in the coming days as he and Mrs Johnson posed for a photo shoot to encourage people to phone their vulnerable loved ones forced to spend Christmas alone, they expressed their condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron after he tested positive for Covid and again emphasized “personal responsibility” in the message about social distancing.
“If you are forming a Christmas bubble, it is vital that from today you minimize contact with people outside your household,” the prime minister tweeted on December 18, 2020. “Everyone must take personal responsibility to avoid transmitting the virus to your loved ones. this Christmas.”
Astounding in light of what has been alleged about his own behavior before, during this precise period and afterwards.
The final and most recent chapter of Partygate (that we know of) came in the form of allegations that two celebrations took place on the night of Friday 16th April 2021, when England was under Step 2 Covid restrictions that prohibited the mix indoors and the night before. The Queen sat alone in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, to mourn her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, at his socially distanced funeral.
Witnesses claimed “excessive alcohol” had been drunk, attendees had danced to music played by a special adviser, a swing belonging to Mr. Johnson’s young son, Wilf, had been damaged when drunken revelers staggered out into the garden and At one point, they reportedly sent a staff member to a local Co-op supermarket with a suitcase to fill with bottles of wine.
On Twitter, however, the prime minister grimly reported his attendance at an officer graduation ceremony at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, saying the late Duke of Edinburgh had “embodied the best traditions of the Royal Navy”.
“Our thoughts remain with HM the Queen,” he said.