Johnson under pressure over No 10 parties during last year's lockdowns
The Guardian|December 02, 2021
Boris Johnson is under intense pressure to explain why No 10 staff seemingly held two parties during lockdown late last year as insiders said the prime minister attended one gathering and remarked on how packed it was.
Peter Walker Aubrey Allegretti Rowena Mason

Yesterday witnesses detailed party games and festivities beyond midnight in Downing Street during the winter 2020 lockdown, expanding on reports first made in the Daily Mirror.

Johnson and his press secretary did not deny the events took place though they insist ed no Covid rules were broken. Without elaboration, they said that they “don’t recognise” some of the reports.

At prime minister’s questions, Keir Starmer accused Johnson of “taking the British public for fools for following the rules”, adding: “The prime minister doesn’t deny there was a Downing Street Christmas party last year. He says no rules were broken. Both of those things can’t be true.”

The allegations centre around two events: a leaving party on 27 November, believed to have been for Cleo Watson – a former aide to Dominic Cummings who himself caused a furore by breaching lockdown rules – and a staff party on 18 December.

A source with knowledge of the gathering told the Guardian Johnson came in and made a speech, mentioning how crowded it was in the room before leaving shortly afterwards to continue working. There were, the source added, “loads of leaving parties” and unplanned social events in Downing Street throughout the second and third lockdowns.

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