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Boris Johnson Apologises For BYOB Downing Street Party

Dominic Smithers

| Last updated 

Boris Johnson Apologises For BYOB Downing Street Party

Boris Johnson has apologised for attending the BYOB party that took place at 10 Downing Street during lockdown.

The Prime Minister was asked for an explanation as to how a gathering was allowed to take place when the government had ordered the public to stay at home and keep away from their family and friends.

He told the house that he attended the party but didn't realise it was in fact a party.

Johnson said sorry for his actions and admitted that 'we simply did not get it right and I must take responsibility'.

He told the house: "With hindsight I should’ve sent everybody inside... and recognised that, though technically it could be said to be within the guidance, there would be millions of people who simply wouldn’t see it that way."

However, his excuse didn't wash with opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said he was a 'pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road' and demanded his resignation.

It comes after an email was leaked this week, showing that an invite for the garden party, which was held on 20 May 2020, was sent to over 100 members of staff.

The email was sent out by Martin Reynolds, the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, and told staff to bring their own booze.

The message read: "Hi all.

"After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.

Boris Johnson has come under pressure after another party was found to have taken place at No.10 during lockdown. Credit: Alamy
Boris Johnson has come under pressure after another party was found to have taken place at No.10 during lockdown. Credit: Alamy

"Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!"

According to ITV, which broke the story, around 40 members of staff attended the party.

It is now one of a number of parties held during lockdown by the government being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

Since the news broke earlier this week, members of the Conservative party, Labour and others in opposition have hit out at Johnson for allowing the party the go ahead.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "That day, the House heard from the Prime Minister himself that 181 NHS workers and 131 social care staff had died, many people made huge personal sacrifices and the minister, quite frankly, hides behind the Gray investigation.

"There’s no need for an investigation into the simple central question today: did the Prime Minister attend the event in the Downing Street garden on the 20 May 2020? It won’t wash to blame this on a few junior civil servants, the Prime Minister sets the tone.

"If the Prime Minister was there, surely he knew. The invitation was sent to 100 staff, many of them his own most personal senior appointees, this was organised in advance, so did the Prime Minister know about the event beforehand and did he give his permission for it go ahead?

Angela Rayner. Credit: Alamy
Angela Rayner. Credit: Alamy

"And if so, did he believe this event was (in) keeping with the restrictions at the time and the guidelines, and was the chief medial officer consulted before it went ahead?"

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on May 20 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office."

It is the latest in a long line of leaks that have revealed a number of parties took place at No 10 and other government buildings during lockdown.

Last month, it was revealed that in December 2020 the Prime Minister had hosted a pub-style quiz at No 10.

Three days after that, on 18 December, another party took place at No 10, which was joked about by the Prime Minister's press officer Allegra Stratton.

And a photo was also leaked from a party held by Johnson in the garden of No 10 on 15 May, just a few days before the latest gathering.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Boris Johnson, Politics, UK News

Dominic Smithers
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