In news which is hardly surprising, people are calling for themselves to be paid to drink at work - following the emergence of a picture reportedly showing Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Number 10 staff having drinks in the garden of Downing Street during the UK’s first lockdown.
The photo, published by The Guardian on Sunday, relates to a gathering in May last year, when the mixing of households outside was limited to two people, who had to be socially distanced.
In-person meetings, meanwhile, could only happen if “absolutely necessary” - per the guidance issued at the time.
It isn’t the first party within the government that is alleged to have taken place while there were strict regulations in place last year.
One which supposedly took place on 18th December made headlines when the prime minister’s former press secretary, Allegra Stratton, was seen on video joking about a Christmas party a few days earlier. Another involving former London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey also emerged in the press, too.
In the case of the garden party, however, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “In the summer months Downing Street staff regularly use the garden for some meetings. On 15th May 2020, the prime minister held a series of meetings throughout the afternoon, including briefly with the then health and care secretary and his team in the garden following a press conference.
“The prime minister went to his residence shortly after 7pm. A small number of staff required to be in work remained in the Downing Street garden for part of the afternoon and evening.”
When approached by The Guardian again on Sunday, Downing Street added: “As we said last week, work meetings often take place in the Downing Street garden in the summer months. On this occasion there were staff meetings after a No 10 press conference.
“Downing Street is the prime minister’s home as well as his workplace. The prime minister’s wife lives in No 10 and therefore also legitimately uses the garden.”
Dominic Raab, justice secretary and deputy prime minister, also defended the government on the Monday media round, telling Sky News: “That’s because it’s a place of work, they’re all in suits or predominantly in formal attire … To be honest with you, the prime minister is in a suit, the officials there…”
Mr Raab has since been ridiculed for the remarks, which people think seems to suggest that it’s fine to down drinks at work - regardless of whatever coronavirus restrictions there are - provided you turn up in your nicest Hugo Boss.
Naturally, when evidence emerges of politicians allegedly bending the rules, members of the public start to wonder how they can bend them themselves - namely, through having a tipple or two on the job:
glad to get formal recognition that drinks after work with colleagues doesn’t count as a social occasion and as a r… https://t.co/EWWYqHK4Sa
— a rare photo of sean connery signed by roger moore (@a rare photo of sean connery signed by roger moore)
Does this mean that employees paid hourly can claim back pay for drinks with colleagues outside of normal working h… https://t.co/R4FMMiNzez