Boris Johnson’s previous apology for a Downing Street party looks more awkward than ever

Boris Johnson’s previous apology for a Downing Street party looks more awkward than ever

An apology Boris Johnson made about an alleged Downing Street party during the festive period in 2020 now looks utterly awkward given fresh claims he attended another rule-breaking bash in May 2020.

When news broke that there may have been a party in Downing Street on 18th December 2020 when London was under tier three measures, Johnson’s former spokesperson Allegra Stratton was forced to resign as a leaked video showed her and other aides joking about how to deal with press questions about the event, and the public were outraged.

So, the prime minister made a statement to the House of Commons assuring people he had been told the event did not happen and that no rules were broken but also announced that he had called for an independent investigation into the matter.

Cabinet secretary Simon Case, who was leading the investigation later stepped down from the inquiry, following allegations of gatherings in his own department in another awkward twist to the tale and it has now fallen upon another senior civil servant Sue Gray to follow the trail of party popper debris to find out how much Downing Street raved while the rest of the UK were in lockdown.

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Johnson added:

“I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing Number 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures and 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.

“I apologise unreservedly for the offence it has caused up and down the country and I apologise for the impression that it gives.

“If those rules were broken then there will be disciplinary action for all those involved.”

Of course now it has been alleged that the PM was one of the attendees at a “bring-your-own-booze’ event in the Number 10 garden at the height of lockdown one in May 2020 in which staff made “the most of the lovely weather”.

A leaked email obtained by ITV News was sent by Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds to more than 100 employees in May 2020 at a time in which people could only meet one on one outside.

It said: “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!”

ITV News claim around 40 people showed up including the PM and his wife Carrie Johnson but when Johnson was asked on Monday if he and his wife attended the party on 20 May, he replied: “All that, as you know, is the subject of a proper investigation by Sue Gray.”

Downing Street also told ITV News they would not comment on the story due to the Sue Gray inquiry.

Meanwhile it is of course but one of many parties the government is accused of being involved in with the most recent allegation being that photos of people including Johnson and Symonds enjoying wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden evidenced a social gathering. The government insisted it was a work meeting.

All these allegations have damaged Johnson’s reputation leading Starmer to climb in the polls. Whether the latest claim will cause the PM to call it a day or power through remains to be seen.

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