Downing Street Partygate: How many bottles of wine would it take to fill a suitcase?

News that Downing Street may have hosted two more parties while the country obeyed lockdown rules, on the night before the Queen attended Prince Philip’s funeral alone was too much for people who think that ‘partygate’ has gone on for long enough.

Yes, an ever-increasing list of alleged lockdown breaking parties is certainly giving prime minister Boris Johnson the mother of all hangovers with even some of his MPs saying they have had enough of him, but he and his ministers are clinging on to power, telling voters and journalists that we will just have to wait for Sue Gray - the civil servant heading up the inquiry into the parties - to get to the bottom of what went on.

But The Telegraph’s report into the two parties that took place the night before Prince Philip’s funeral, offers up details that are so bizarre that you’d have to do a double-take.

Someone broke poor old Wilf Johnson’s swing, music was played late into the night, and a member of staff was even sent to the Co-op on with a suitcase to fill it with bottles of wine and bring it back to the party, reportedly.

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It is that last detail that has really left people perturbed and here at indy100 we’re all about asking the important questions. Did the staffer have bubble wrap the wine bottles to prevent them for breaking? Why is there a suitcase in Number 10? Is a Covid rule-breaking party less bad if the wine is red, white, or rose?

And crucially: Just how many bottles of wine would the hapless staffer have managed to have brought back to Downing Street by themselves?

An investigation follows:

To fill a suitcase with wine, we, of course, need two things - a suitcase, and wine.

The suitcase

Kate Plummer

So, here is a small suitcase. A five-night away jobby. The kind of suitcase you might just about squeeze into overhead luggage on a budget airline, but could end up parting with cash over to put it in the hold. We don’t know if that is the equipment the Downing Street staff member was dealing with, but it’s what we are for this particular experiment.

The wine

Kate Plummer

Mulled, mostly. It has just been Christmas after all. The Downing Street revellers would probably not have had mulled wine given the alleged event reportedly took place on 16th April, but given there have also been many allegations of crooked Christmas parties, it feels fitting.

How many bottles of wine would it take to fill a suitcase?


Kate Plummer

After a bit of time spent trying to work out whether to pack the bottles sideways or lengthways and whether stacking bottles on top of bottles is just asking for trouble (it is), a thoroughly scientific method has concluded that you can fit five bottles of plonk in a suitcase - which fair play, is more than you can probably get in a bag for life.

Of course, this information is of vital importance. We understand that there were around 30 attendees at the two parties combined, meaning that if they shared five 750ml bottles of wine they would have been able to have a 125ml glass each - that’s one small glass exactly.

Using only guesswork as a barometer, this means they probably weren’t all that drunk - so could inebriation work as a reasonable defence for letting standards and rules slip?

We think not and rest our case (of wine). Over to you, Sue.

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