The British Guardian newspaper on Sunday published a photo of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and more than a dozen other people drinking wine in the garden of his Downing Street residence, which was reportedly taken during a COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020.
In response, his office said there were staff meetings in the yard that day.
Johnson has been hit by a string of media stories in recent weeks about alleged Christmas parties in government buildings, including his own, in violation of COVID-19 lockdowns last year and has ordered an investigation.
The reports have baffled voters who were told by the government last year to sacrifice their own Christmas events, risking the possibility of being told to stall their Christmas plans for a second year in a row as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly. .
The photo published by the Guardian is said to be from May 2020, not long after Johnson was released from hospital where he spent several nights in intensive care with COVID-19.
It shows Johnson with his wife Carrie, who appears to be holding their newborn son, and two other people at a table on a terrace in the Downing Street garden with cheese and wine.
Nearby is another table of four other people, and a little further on is a larger group on the grass around a table with bottles of wine.
Asked about the photo, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “In the summer months, work meetings often take place in the Downing Street garden. On this occasion there were staff meetings following a press conference at number 10.”
“Downing Street is both the Prime Minister’s home and his workplace. The Prime Minister’s wife lives at No. 10 and thus also makes lawful use of the garden.”
The newspaper said the photo had been shared with the newspaper after Johnson’s office denied that a social event had taken place last week, saying Downing Street staff were working in the yard during the afternoons and evenings.
On that day, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock had held a press conference calling on people to abide by the rules and not take advantage of the good weather over the weekend to socialize in groups, it reported.
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