As chaos around a series of Downing Street party claims continues, former No.10 adviser Dominic Cummings has weighed in on the issue by stating Boris Johnson knew about one of the gatherings being looked into by Sue Gray.
Mr Johnson has already been forced into an apology for attending the garden event on 20 May 2020 at the height of lockdown, as the UK was asked to adhere to strict rules in a bid to slow the spread of Covid and ease pressures on the NHS.
Now Mr Cummings is claiming the prime minister misled parliament after Mr Johnson said he was of the impression the gathering at Number 10 was a “work event”. Mr Cummings claims Mr Johnson and principal private secretary Martin Reynolds were warned it was against the rules but approved the event anyway.
Mr Johnson has “categorically” denied anyone warned him the No.10 Downing Street garden party broke lockdown rules.
Cummings, once one of prime minister Boris Johnson’s closest aides, has previously anticipated a ‘regime change’ at No.10 following public outrage to partygate.
The timeline of events has thrown into the spotlight Cummings’ Downing Street departure.
When did Dominic Cummings resign?
News broke of Dominic Cummings’ resignation from Downing Street on 13 November 2020.
Photos of him leaving No.10 through the famous black front door while carrying a box after seemingly clearing out his desk remain fresh in the memory of the British public.
Cummings had become one of the more public figures of Boris Johnson’s advisory team in the preceding 12 months after he was forced to hold his own press conference in the summer.
It followed public backlash over reports which detailed his trip to the north of England and subsequently to Barnard Castle when non-essential travel was banned under Covid restrictions.
Cummings had previously worked with Johnson on the Vote Leave campaign of 2016 and helped him gain a large majority in the following "Get Brexit Done" general election.
Tensions ran high, however, in the Autumn of 2020 and Cummings left his post amid a power struggle at No.10 which also saw communications director Lee Cain leave his role.
Cummings continued to work from home until the middle of December.
Did Dominic Cummings resign before the Downing Street Christmas party?
Dominic Cummings resigned from his post as Boris Johnson’s chief adviser on 13 November, and was pictured leaving Downing Street the following day.
Even though he was still involved in some government business, such as mass Covid testing, he did so from home until the "middle of December", reported the BBC.
This would suggest Cummings had left Downing Street before the alleged Christmas party on 18 December 2020, when such gatherings were banned under Covid restrictions.
At the time, London was under Tier 3 rules meaning work from home whenever possible and banned people from mixing indoors with anyone not in their household or support bubble.
It’s understood that prime minister Boris Johnson was not at the event.
Johnson, ministers and government officials have continued to deny any Covid rules were broken at No.10 at the time, on the morning of Wednesday 8 December 2021.
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