Downing Street party: Leaked email shows staff were invited to ‘bring own booze’ to party during lockdown
The email was sent to around 100 members of staff who worked inside Downing Street in May 2020
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The email, written by the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds, invited members of staff to “socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden” and encouraged those attending to “bring your own booze”.
Sourced by ITV News, the correspondence was allegedly sent on 20 May 2020, when the British public were prohibited from meeting in groups larger than two people from two households in an outdoor public place.
At a glance: 5 key points
- A new leaked email has shown that more than 100 members of staff at Downing Street were invited to take part in a gathering for “socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden” on 20 May 2020
- At the time, the British public were banned from meeting with any more than one person outside their household in an outdoor public place, with a ban in place for any mixing in private settings
- It has been alleged that around 40 of those invited attended the gathering in the garden of Downing Street, with claims that Boris Johnson and wife Carrie Johnson were among those in attendance.
- The leaked email comes after Mr Johnson announced that an internal investigation was launched to investigate whether any rules were broken during alleged gatherings
- Previous allegations included claims that ministers had held “Christmas parties” during strict Covid rules in November 2020
What did the email say?
The email, which was sent to more than 100 Downing Street employees, invited staff to attend “socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden” in an attempt to “make the most of the lovely weather”.
Staff were also encouraged to “bring your own booze” to the gathering.
It read: “Hi all,
“After what has been an incredibly busy period 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!”
It is believed that around 40 people attended the gathering, with the Prime Minister and his wife allegedly in attendance.
Previous evidence from the gathering on 20 May 2020 showed an image taken of the back garden of Number 10, which showed Boris Johnson, Carries Johnson and Martin Reynolds among others drinking alcohol while sitting in groups.
At the time of the alleged party, the British public were not permitted to meet with anyone outside there household indoors, and were not able to meet up in groups of more than two people from two households in outdoor public spaces.
It comes amid a storm of allegations that the Conservatives and the Prime Minister hosted Covid rule-breaking gatherings and parties, with Boris Johnson announcing that senior civil servant Sue Gray would be investigating the allegations.
What have people said about the situation?
The email leak has lead to criticism aimed at Boris Johnson and the Conservative government.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Raynor had strong words for the Prime Minister, saying: “It is terrible and I think many people that see the evidence now will not only think that Boris Johnson’s lies are catching up with him, but will see it as absolutely despicable that when they were actually told to follow the rules, Boris Johnson and No 10 were breaking the rules.
“It is disgraceful and he should be ashamed.”
She also urged the police to take action on the gathering if Ms Gray’s inquiry was to find wrongdoing.
She added: “If he has clearly broken the law, then that should be referred to the police and the police should handle it.
“Nobody is above the law. Many people at the time couldn’t go to funerals, weren’t able to meet with families and friends, and they’ll be disgusted by this because not only does it seem Boris Johnson is breaking his rules, but he has been lying to people as well, and this is completely unacceptable and not what you’d expect from the British Prime Minister.”
Her comments were echoed by Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, who 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.
“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.”
Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner, ho explains Covid regulations to the public via Twitter, said: “Being outside the home was illegal at the time unless (the only potentially relevant exception) it was for the need to work.
“‘Socially distanced drinks’ / ‘BYOB’ don’t sound like work.”
Downing Street have so far refused to comment on the allegation while the internal investigation led by Sue Gray in ongoing
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