Moment PM denies No 10 party took place on day he was pictured drinking

BBC Parliament

From work events and “brief gatherings” to cake ambushes, amid the ongoing Partygate scandal, senior Tory MPs appear to be having a really hard time deciding what a party actually looks like.

A reminder that at the time, regulations banned gatherings of more than two or more people inside, with an exception if they were “reasonably necessary” for work purposes.

Separate guidance on “working safely during coronavirus” stated in-person meetings should only be attended by “absolutely necessary participants”, with two-metre social distancing in place throughout.

Yet you can present them with video footage of former press secretary Allegra Stratton joking about a “fictional” party which supposedly took place in Downing Street during lockdown, complete with “cheese and wine”, and some Conservatives will still defend the indefensible.

You can release an email from a civil servant about “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” with people told to “bring your own booze”, and still hear excuses as to why being outraged over such a decision during a deadly pandemic is disproportionate.

You can show pictures of Mr Johnson next to drinks during a Christmas quiz and have Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, arguing it wasn’t a party because there was “no alcohol on the table”.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

You can publish images of the PM out in the Downing Street garden next to drinks and have a No 10 spokesperson claim “work meetings often take place in the Downing Street garden in the summer months”.

You can have top civil servant Sue Gray publish an update on her inquiry into alleged rule-breaking parties in No 10, in which she slams “failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office”, and have Mr Johnson argue “it is no use saying that this or that was within the rules”.

You can have the Metropolitan Police conduct an official investigation into Downing Street parties – which concluded with Mr Johnson being one of 126 people fined and the first sitting PM to be found to have broken the law – and have the Tory party leader claim “it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules”.

And finally, as of Monday, you can leak images of Mr Johnson raising a glass with colleagues in Downing Street on 13 November and still have a UK prime minister who still refuses to concede that he may have attended a party.

So allow us to help a politician who has seemingly forgotten some of his Etonian education.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a ‘party’ is “a social event at which a group of people meet to talk, eat, drink, dance, etc., often in order to celebrate a special occasion”.

You’re welcome, prime minister.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)