Boris Govt faces potential police investigation into lockdown party

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government faces a potential police investigation and the prospect of yet another political catastrophe after emails were published indicating Downing Street was having a boozy party while the nation was under strict lockdown.

Metropolitan Police said they were in contact with the Cabinet Office regarding reports of yet another ‘bring your own booze’ lockdown break party held at the Prime Minister’s Residence at 10 Downing Street on 20 May, just days after the infamous garden gathering, which the government said was just a business meeting.

“The Metropolitan Police Department is aware of the numerous reports of alleged violations of the health protection regulations at Downing Street on May 20, 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office,” the Met said in a statement.

On Monday, an email from Prime Minister Martin Reynolds’ Senior Private Secretary to more than 100 Downing Street employees on May 20, 2020 shared by ITV News said: ‘After what has been an incredibly busy time, we thought that’ it would be nice to make the most of the good weather and have a socially distanced drink in garden # 10 tonight.

“Please join us from 6 p.m. and bring your own alcohol!” “

According to the news network, around 40 staff, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his now wife Carrie Johnson, gathered in the garden for the party.

Less than an hour before people gathered in Number 10 for the party, Government Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden held a press conference the same evening in which he warned the public of s ” refrain from mixing in large groups.

“You can meet someone outside of your home in an outdoor public place as long as you stay two meters apart,” Dowden said at the time.

The email leak will be harder for the government to defend than the previous scandal over a photo of the Prime Minister, his then girlfriend and others sipping wine and eating cheese in Downing Street Garden . The government insisted that it was only a working meeting.

It appears the first man to fall from the latest scandal will be the author of the email, Private Secretary to Prime Minister Martin Reynolds, who has headed Johnson’s private office since 2019 and is said to have been tasked with enforcing the measures against coronaviruses in the Prime Minister’s office. However, opposition leaders may not be happy with such a sacrificial lamb.

Commenting on the scandal, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Angela Rayner, said: “The spate of revelations about parties and other events in Downing Street has made a mockery of anyone who scrupulously followed the rules – often at great personal cost. .

“Boris Johnson has said on several occasions that no rule was broken in number 10, but the truth is out. He misled the public and misled the House. She continued, “Of course it is true that there is an investigation, but we shouldn’t need it for the Prime Minister to tell the truth. Boris Johnson is expected to come to the House of Commons today and finally speak the truth. “

Rayner, who asked an urgent question in Parliament on Tuesday, told the House: “The public has already drawn its own conclusions. [The Prime Minister] can run but cannot hide.

She asked – although the Prime Minister was not present, having declared another Minister in his place: “… the simple central question today: Did the Prime Minister attend the event of May 20? 2020? We should not blame a few young officials, the Prime Minister sets the tone. If the Prime Minister was there, he surely knew it.

Writing on social media, Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer noted: “Boris Johnson, your deviations and distractions are absurd. Not only did you know the parties in Downing Street, you attended them.

“Stop lying to the British public. It’s time to finally put things in perspective.

In December, the Prime Minister spoke in the House of Commons to express his views on another apparent violation of lockdown restrictions, when footage was released of Downing Street staff hosting a Christmas party in 2020.

“I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who set the rules didn’t follow the rules because I was so pissed off,” Johnson said last month.

The apparent hypocrisy of the government and the prime minister himself being locked down has taken a heavy toll on the leader for the past two months.

A poll conducted by YouGov ahead of the latest lockdown scandal found that more than a third of Conservative Party members believe the PM should step down and 38% say they think Mr Johnson has done a bad job as that leader.

At present, according to the polling agency, only 26% of the public have a favorable opinion of Mr Johnson, compared to 56% with a negative opinion.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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