A leaked email has revealed that 100 people were invited to a party in the No. 10 garden, with multiple witnesses saying the prime minister was present. An urgent question in the House of Commons was raised by Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner, however, the Prime Minister did not attend to answer; Paymaster General Michael Ellis instead fielding questions.
The leaked email, sent by the PM’s private secretary, Martin Reynolds, read:
“Hi all, 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 email was sent to around 100 people, including the prime minister’s advisors and speech writers. It is currently believed that around 30 people attended the party, Boris Johnson and his wife among them.
The alleged gathering woud have happend during May 2020. Covid rules at the time stated that you could only meet with one person from a different household.
The allegations first came to light last week, with Johnson’s former aid, Dominic Cummings, saying that the prime minister was present.
An urgent session for questions regarding the alleged party was called, but Boris Johnson was not present. Questions were instead directed towards cabinet minister Michael Ellis who insisted that a fair and impartial investigation must take place before any conclusions can be made.
Deputy leader of the Labour party, Angela Raynor, said of the PM’s absence:
“[It is] incredibly disappointing, but not unsurprising. … He can run but he can’t hide”.
The leader of the Labour party, Keir Starmer, who was not not present at the question session due to a positive covid test, tweeted:
“Boris Johnson, your deflections and distractions are absurd.
“Not only did you know about the parties in Downing Street, you attended them.”
“Stop lying to the British public. It’s time to finally come clean.”
Johnson also came under fire from members of his own party. In an interview with the BBC, Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:
“I can’t understand if the prime minister attended why on earth he thought that was the right thing to do,”
“People are furious about this, what they gave up, how difficult it was, what happened to their own lives, and to think that this was going on? It is indefensible, it cannot be defended.”
The accusation comes as one in a string of several alleged downing street parties that happened when lockdown rules prohibited them.
Michael Ellis stated that there would be a swift investigation into the matter, led by senior civil servant Sue Gray, with the results to be published to the public.