100 people invited to Downing Street garden lockdown drinks
According to witnesses who attended the controversial Downing Street garden party over 100 people were invited to the ‘bring-your-own-booze’ event.
Eyewitnesses reported to the BBC that 30 people attended the party, including the Prime Minister and his wife.
The alleged garden party occurred in May 2020 during the first national lockdown when only one person per household could mix whilst outside.
Boris Johnson has declined to say whether he was among those there.
The Metropolitan Police said it was in contact with the government over “widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches” of Covid rules.
An email, revealed by ITV News, invited people to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening”.
What appears to be the full email invitation sent on behalf of Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, has been published by ITV.
It has the subject line “Socially Distanced Drinks! [OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE-No 10 ONLY]”.
“After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening,” the email says.
“Please join us from 6 pm and bring your own booze.”
Twelve days later on 1 June rules in England were relaxed to allow groups of up to six people to meet outside.
Health Minister Edward Argar told BBC Breakfast he understood the “anger, sadness and upset many will feel about these allegations”.
But he said it was “important” to allow an investigation to take place into gatherings in Downing Street before coming to any conclusions.
However, former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson tweeted: “Nobody needs an official to tell them if they were at a boozy shindig in their own garden.”
She said the public were “rightly furious” after the sacrifices they made, adding: “What… were any of these people thinking?”
Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the prime minister “cannot run and cannot hide” from the allegations.
He added: “It speaks to a rotten culture at the heart of this government and the rotten culture begins with the person in charge.”
On Monday, Downing Street declined to comment as it said the gathering – like others reported to have happened under coronavirus restrictions during 2020 – is now being looked into as part of an ongoing independent investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
The original photo which sparked public anger, shared by The Guardian, shows several groups standing in close contact.
In their original response, a spokesperson for Number 1o said: “There were meetings taking place both inside and outside No 10. This shows colleagues who were required to be in work, meeting following a press conference to discuss work.”
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