More than 100 Downing Street staff were invited to a party at the height of the first lockdown in May last year, according to what is reported to be a leaked email.
ITV News reports that the email provides 'the first evidence of a party on May 20, 2020', when the rest of the nation was banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors.
EXCL: Email obtained by @itvnews proves over 100 staff were invited to drinks party in No 10 garden at height of lockdown to “make the most of the lovely weather”.— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) January 10, 2022
We’re told PM and his wife attended, with staff invited to “bring your own booze!”https://t.co/rg34EIkdz2 pic.twitter.com/UORlSwwHJX
The outlet reports that the email was sent by the Prime Minister's Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, to more than 100 employees at Number 10 - including Boris Johnson's advisors, speechwriters and door staff.
In the message, Reynolds wrote:
After what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.
Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!
The party was first alluded to by Johnson's former advisor Dominic Cummings, who wrote in a post on his Substack blog last Friday: “On Wednesday 20 May ... a senior No 10 official invited people to ‘socially distanced drinks’ in the garden.
“I and at least one other spad (in writing so Sue Gray can dig up the original email and the warning) said that this seemed to be against the rules and should not happen.
“We were ignored. I was ill and went home to bed early that afternoon but am told this event definitely happened. In my opinion the official who organised this should anyway have been removed that summer because of his failures over Covid. I said this repeatedly to the PM.”
The gathering is one of numerous incidents being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray, as part of her inquiry into allegations of rule-breaking events held at No. 10 during the pandemic.
Downing Street has denied that Reynolds is to be moved to another post following the claims he invited staff to the 'socially distanced drinks'.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said that Reynolds was staying in his current position, adding: “The Prime Minister has full confidence in his team. There is no change in that post."
The spokesperson refused to be drawn on reports that Boris Johnson had attended the event.
“There is an independent process going on to look into this led by Sue Gray and I can’t comment further while that is taking place," they said.
Labour has accused Johnson of having 'no regard for the rules he puts in place for the rest of us', with Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner saying: “Boris Johnson has consistently shown that he has no regard for the rules he puts in place for the rest of us. He is trying to get officials to take the fall for his own mistakes, but he sets the tone for the way Downing Street and the rest of Government operates.
“At the time this party took place, key workers on the frontline were working round the clock to keep us all safe, people suffered loneliness and loss in unimaginably tough circumstances and for the majority of the country our freedom was limited to a daily walk.
“Labour has welcomed Sue Gray’s inquiry, but we need confirmation that this latest revelation, and any other parties not yet revealed by press investigations, will be covered by her probe.”
LADbible has reached out to No.10 for comment.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: UK News
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