The staff of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were invited to a ‘Bring your own alcohol’ party in the garden of his Downing Street residence during the first nationwide coronavirus lockdown last year, according to a leaked email seen by the ITV broadcaster.
Johnson, who won a landslide victory in the 2019 election, faced a deluge of criticism against alleged parties in government offices, including his own, in violation of COVID-19 lockdowns.
About 40 staff gathered in the garden for the aperitif, including Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson, ITV said, although at the time the social mix between households was limited to two people at the outside.
An email was sent by the Prime Minister’s Senior Private Secretary Martin Reynolds to more than 100 Downing Street employees on May 20, 2020, ITV said. The leaked email asked them to bring alcohol to the party and “make the most of the good weather.”
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“After what has been an incredibly busy time, it would be nice to make the most of the good weather and have a socially distant drink in Garden No.10 tonight,” Reynolds said in the email. “Please join us from 6 p.m. and bring your own alcohol!” “2
Johnson’s office declined to comment.
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At the time, schools were closed and pubs and restaurants were closed, with strict controls on social diversity. Two people from different households were allowed to meet outside, but only if they were kept at a distance of 2 meters.
A senior government official, Sue Gray, is currently investigating allegations of at least five parties held in government departments last year during the lockdown restrictions.
The allegations dismayed voters who were told by the government to strictly adhere to social distancing rules.
Johnson’s Tories lost an election in a previous stronghold last month, stepping up pressure from his own lawmakers to reform his team of advisers.
Britain’s official toll from the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed 150,000 on Saturday, the second highest in absolute terms in Europe, behind that of Russia.
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