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by Andrew Learmonth
11 January 2022
Boris Johnson urged to 'come clean' over 'Bring Your Own Booze' lockdown party

Boris Johnson urged to 'come clean' over 'Bring Your Own Booze' lockdown party

Boris Johnson has been urged to come clean over his attendance at a "bring-your-own-booze" party in the Downing Street garden at the height of the first lockdown.

Reports suggest around 100 people were invited to the do, with about 30 attending. 

The Metropolitan Police said it was in contact with the government over "widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches" of Covid rules.

An email, obtained by ITV News,  sent on behalf of Johnson's principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, invited people to "socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening" on May 20, 2020, when restrictions were still in place over groups of people meeting up.

The email invite says: "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 No 10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze."

Downing Street has declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate as the party is being investigated as part of an ongoing independent civil service probe into allegations of rule breaking at No 10.

On the same day as the gathering, the then Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, gave the UK Government's coronavirus briefing. He told the public: "You can meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor, public place provided that you stay two metres apart."

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in the House of Commons, said: “Boris Johnson must come clean and admit whether he attended, or was aware of, this Covid rule-breaking party in his own back garden.”

He added: “People will find it utterly outrageous that while the rest of us were banned from public gatherings, the most powerful people in the Tory Government were boozing up at No 10 Downing Street, proving yet again that it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Boris Johnson has consistently shown that he has no regard for the rules he puts in place for the rest of us. He is trying to get officials to take the fall for his own mistakes, but he sets the tone for the way Downing Street and the rest of government operates.

“At the time this party took place, key workers on the frontline were working round the clock to keep us all safe, people suffered loneliness and loss in unimaginably tough circumstances and for the majority of the country our freedom was limited to a daily walk.

“Labour has welcomed Sue Gray’s inquiry, but we need confirmation that this latest revelation, and any other parties not yet revealed by press investigations, will be covered by her probe.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the event was a “kick in the teeth for everyone who has sacrificed so much during the pandemic”.

He said: “This is yet more evidence that while the vast majority of people were sticking to the rules, those in No 10 were breaking them.

“It is a kick in the teeth for everyone who has sacrificed so much during the pandemic, from those who weren’t able to visit loved ones in hospital to nurses left wearing binbags as PPE.

“To add insult to injury, on the very same day that the Culture Secretary said people could only meet in pairs outdoors, it seems Boris Johnson’s staff were holding a boozy party in Downing Street.

Asked during a visit to a vaccination centre in west London if he had attended the event, the Prime Minister said: "All that, as you know, is the subject of a proper investigation by Sue Gray."

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Scotland's Covid recovery impossible without independence says SNP president

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