Johnson said it “did not occur” to him that the gathering in the Cabinet Room on June 19 2020 to mark his 56th birthday was a violation of coronavirus rules, but that he “now humbly accepts” he did breach Covid-19 laws.
Sunak, meanwhile, said: “I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry.”
The top Tories being fined follows a Metropolitan Police investigation, dubbed Operation Hillman, into gatherings at Downing Street during lockdown.
EXCL: Email obtained by @itvnews proves over 100 staff were invited to drinks party in No 10 garden at height of lockdown to \u201cmake the most of the lovely weather\u201d.\n\nWe\u2019re told PM and his wife attended, with staff invited to \u201cbring your own booze!\u201d\n\nhttps://www.itv.com/news/2022-01-10/email-proves-downing-street-staff-held-drinks-party-at-height-of-lockdown\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/UORlSwwHJX
The event had not previously been disclosed but The Telegraph said the official in question is former home affairs policy adviser Hannah Young, who left Downing Street to take up the role of deputy consul general in New York.
The newspaper said it understood about 20 people attended, with alcohol consumed.
At that time people were only allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to six, as long as they remained two metres apart.
But the government guidance said: “If you are in someone else’s garden, you must not go inside to help the host carry the food out or to help with the washing up.”
The PA news agency was told that Lulu Lytle, the interior designer behind lavish renovations of the Downing Street flat, briefly attended while undertaking work there.
A spokesperson for Lytle said she was “not invited to any birthday celebrations” and instead “entered the Cabinet Room briefly… while waiting to speak with the prime minister”.
Tonight a spokesperson for Lulu Lytle hasn\u2019t denied she was present at the party, but says she wasn\u2019t \u2018invited\u2019 and was there waiting to speak to the Prime Minister.pic.twitter.com/MdD1LHemvX
Cummings, former de facto chief-of-staff at No 10, has alleged there are photographs of parties held at the flat during lockdown and said he has spoken to people who heard music coming from the Johnsons’ accommodation on the night he left Downing Street.
A second national lockdown for England began on November 5.
People were ordered to stay at home during this period and only leave under a limited number of exceptions, not including gatherings.
Different households were banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens, unless in a support bubble.
November 13 2020: Leaving party for senior aide
According to reports at the time, Johnson gave a leaving speech for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications and a close ally of Cummings.
At the time organisers of large gatherings of more than 30 people could have been fined £10,000.
December 17 2020: Cabinet Office ‘Christmas party’
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case removed himself from the inquiry into Whitehall parties – to be replaced by Gray – after reports emerged of a gathering in the Cabinet Office.
It was reported that the do had been organised by a private secretary in Case’s team, and that it was noted in digital calendars as “Christmas party!” and included an online quiz.
The Cabinet Office said Case played no part in the event “but walked through the team’s office on the way to his own”.
Earlier that month, England introduced a tier system, with the majority of the country, including London, in Tier 2, where the restrictions meant a ban on households mixing indoors, and pubs and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.
However, days prior to the event, London moved into Tier 3, meaning the hospitality sector had to close except for takeaways, and groups of six could only meet in outdoor public spaces.
December 17 2020: Leaving drinks for former Covid Taskforce head
The former director-general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce, Kate Josephs, said she was “truly sorry” over leaving drinks held in the Cabinet Office.
December 17 2020: No 10 leaving do
A leaving do was held for a departing Downing Street official. The Telegraph reported that the staff member in question was Captain Steve Higham, then one of Johnson’s private secretaries, who advised on defence and national security issues.
The Mirror, which first reported the event before the police investigation began, said Johnson was only there “for a few minutes”.
Capt Higham became Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in July 2021.
December 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party
Officials and advisers reportedly made speeches, enjoyed a cheese board, drank together and exchanged Secret Santa gifts, although the prime minister is not thought to have attended.
In a statement, Ellwood said the Iraq British Business Council reception was “Covid compliant” but said he is aware that “perceptions count”.
Apols re my well intentioned attendance at an Iraqi/British Business event.\nIt was fully Covid compliant & helpful to learn more about where Iraq\u2019s heading as UK troops are still there. \nBut during this challenging time perceptions count. Something I\u2019m now very more conscious of.pic.twitter.com/fAbEwILmna
In a statement, Slack said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused. This event should not have happened at the time that it did.”
“I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility,” he added.
Socialising indoors with people from other households was not allowed and meeting others outdoors was limited to groups of six people or two households.
This was one of the more symbolic instances of rules being flouted, contrasting so gravely with the Queen sitting alone the next day at the Duke\u2019s funeral. \n\nThe PM had to apologise to Her Majesty, after weeks of claiming no rules were broken. Now we know for sure that they were.pic.twitter.com/EdwlgLtQ4z