Partygate: Boris Johnson's repeated denials and excuses

A bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson has been donated to a charity event as a ‘souvenir of partygate’.

The story first emerged after Guardian food writer Jay Rayner posted a picture of a written description for a bottle donated by Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party Oliver Dowden.

Rayner wrote: “Perhaps you thought the Conservative party took partygate seriously. Last night a champagne bottle signed by @BorisJohnson was donated to a charity event in Hertfordshire by local MP and Tory party chairman @OliverDowden.”

The description of the item reads: “A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of party gate and the exemplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader. Donated by Oliver Dowden.”

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Dowden’s office has confirmed that while the MP did donate the item, he had no knowledge of the description.

A spokesperson for Dowden told Indy100: “This item was donated in good faith several months ago for a local charity auction. Oliver Dowden had no prior knowledge of the description and this is obviously not his view.”

The event was held by the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, which released a statement apologising for the item’s description.

“This item was donated in good faith several months ago as part of a charity auction raising funds to support some of the county’s most vulnerable residents. The description was not drafted or seen by MP Oliver Dowden prior to the event.

“On behalf of the charity, we apologise for any offence caused.”It comes after Scotland Yard announced on Thursday that the number of fines handed out to government staff for law-breaking parties held during the pandemic had passed 100.

In an update on Thursday, the Metropolitan Police said its Operation Hillman investigation into a dozen events in Downing Street and Whitehall remained ongoing – while confirming that Johnson has not received any further fines in the latest round of fixed penalty notices.

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