British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire on Tuesday after it emerged that his private secretary had invited more than 100 people to a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden during the first coronavirus lockdown.
Johnson, who took a landslide victory in the 2019 election, came under intense scrutiny over the past month after a video surfaced in which his staff laughed and joked about a Downing Street party during a Christmas lockdown in 2020.
Revelations about a series of parties in Downing Street have sparked public ridicule, prompting jokes from comedians and criticism from Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, who said Johnson did not have the moral authority to run the country.
Johnson and his partner Carrie were among those gathered in the Downing Street garden with around 40 staff on May 20, 2020, after the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Martin Reynolds, sent an email invitation, ITV reported.
“After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to enjoy the beautiful weather and have some socially distancing drinks in the No10 garden tonight,” Reynolds said in the email, ITV reported.
“Join us from 6pm and bring your own drinks!”
At the time of the meeting, schools were closed to most students and pubs and restaurants were closed, with strict controls on social mixing.
The rules were so strict at the time that police were prosecuting people for throwing parties, setting up arbitrary checkpoints in some areas and using drones to monitor beauty spots in Derbyshire, central England.
Johnson’s office declined to comment on the ITV report. A senior government official Sue Gray is currently investigating allegations of at least five parties who were held in government departments during lockdown restrictions last year.
Edward Argar, a junior health minister, said he understood the pain media reports of Downing Street parties would cause.
“I can understand the pain that these reports, these allegations, will have caused, especially for those who have lost loved ones,” Argar told Sky News.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate . . . for me to comment on those ongoing conversations or her ongoing investigation. We have to give space to complete that investigation.’
In recent months, Johnson, 57, has been criticized for his handling of a sleaze scandal, the award of lucrative COVID contracts, the renovation of his Downing Street flat and a claim he intervened to ensure pets were evacuated from Kabul. during the chaotic Western withdrawal in August.
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