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Partygate: pictures emerge showing Boris Johnson drinking at No 10 leaving do during lockdown – live | Politics

Pictures released showing PM drinking at No 10 leaving do during lockdown in November 2020

ITV News’ Paul Brand has obtained photographs of Boris Johnson drinking at a Downing Street event that looks very much like a party.

The pictures were taken at a leaving do for Lee Cain, the PM’s director of communications, on 13 November 2020.

Picture obtained by ITV of PM drinking at a party in No 10 on 13 November 2020. Photograph: ITV News

The images will fuel claims that Johnson was lying when he told MPs more than a year later that all the Covid guidance was followed in Downing Street and that people abided by the rules.

Here are some clearer images of the photos obtained by ITV News of the party on 13 November 2020, which the prime minister previously denied had taken place.

ITV screengrab of party attended by Boris Johnson
A photograph obtained by ITV News shows Boris Johnson at the party on 13 November. Photograph: ITV
ITV screengrab of party attended by Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson enjoying himself at the party in an image first published by ITV News. Photograph: ITV News
A photograph obtained by ITV News shows Boris Johnson enjoying himself
Boris Johnson holding the attention of the other partygoers in a photo obtained by ITV News. Photograph: ITV News

Here’s some close ups of the table showing the alcohol options, which included wine and gin.

ITV screengrab of party attended by Boris Johnson
Bottles of wine are seen on the table during the party, in photos obtained by ITV News. Photograph: ITV News
ITV screengrab of party attended by Boris Johnson
A photo obtained by ITV News showing the table Boris Johnson was standing in front of at the party. Photograph: ITV News

Peter Bone has told Times Radio that the photos obtained by ITV News of the PM attending an event in No 10 don’t show a party.

The Conservative MP told John Pienaar:

I don’t think it looks like that at all.

He added that:

The police had seen these photographs as well. So I’m happy to accept the police’s verdict on it. But we’ve still got to wait for the Sue Gray report.

A source who attended the event that Boris Johnson is pictured at in the ITV Partygate photos has told Chris Mason of the BBC that the prime minister was at the event for 10 minutes before leaving.

Of course, the rules at the time of the party didn’t stipulate you could attend a party if it was only for 10 minutes and this doesn’t explain his response when he was specifically asked during PMQs about whether there was a party.

Our @ChrisMasonBBC says he’s learned few things about pic of gathering exposed by @itvnews: PM instigated it. PM was there for 10 mins and then left. Someone who attended has been fined.

— Sima Kotecha (@sima_kotecha) May 23, 2022

Chris says he was told the above by someone who was at the leaving do ..

— Sima Kotecha (@sima_kotecha) May 23, 2022

On 8 December last year the Labour MP Catherine West asked Johnson in the House of Commons if there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November. She was referring to 13 November 2020. Johnson replied:

No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been urged to investigate why Boris Johnson was not fined for the event at which he was pictured apparently raising a toast and drinking sparkling wine.

The Lib Dem deputy leader, Daisy Cooper, has written to IOPC director general Michael Lockwood about the issue after photographs obtained by ITV News were published.

The prime minister received a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) over a birthday party in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 but was told he would face no further action over other gatherings covered by the Metropolitan police’s Operation Hillman inquiry.

Cooper said:

The Metropolitan police has so far failed to offer any statement of clarification regarding their decision-making process.

They have not set out the evidential thresholds which they used to determine whether FPNs should be issued.

The result of this lack of transparency is that the release of photographs such as that of the prime minister drinking in Downing Street, on an occasion for which he was not fined, will likely create considerable public confusion.

In particular, it is hard to understand why some individuals, in particular more junior members of staff, who attended the same gatherings as the prime minister received questionnaires and FPNs, while the prime minister did not.

She urged the IOPC to investigate Operation Hillman “and establish the process by which the Metropolitan police reached their conclusions on breaches of coronavirus regulations”.

Continued scrutiny over lockdown parties held in Downing Street are a reminder that “politicians are servants of the people,” a senior Conservative MP has said.

Jeremy Hunt told PM on Radio 4 that “politicians are being held to account” over the allegations in “excruciating detail”.

He told the programme he had not seen the latest photos published by ITV News, which reportedly show the prime minister drinking with officials in Downing Street.

The former foreign secretary said:

I think it is dangerous to comment on a photograph if you haven’t seen the context of the report that it goes out with.

Hunt said the investigations were “incredibly uncomfortable for the prime minister”.

He added:

I have things that happened when I was health secretary and foreign secretary which were talked about, and which were uncomfortable for me as well.

So I think this is the week where we are reminding people that politicians are servants of the people.

The Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, has responded to the ITV Partygate photographs. He hasn’t called on Boris Johnson to resign but said the prime minister needs to explain why he believes the behaviour was acceptable.

He said:

These images will rightly make people across the country very angry.

The prime minister must outline why he believes this behaviour was acceptable. To most, these pictures seem unjustifiable and wrong.

Full story: Photos show Boris Johnson with glass of wine at No 10 party he was not fined for

Jessica Elgot

Jessica Elgot

New photos have emerged of Boris Johnson raising a glass of wine in front of a table strewn with bottles at the leaving do of a senior aide – an event for which the Metropolitan police decided not to issue the prime minister with a fixed-penalty notice (FPN).

Others who attended the leaving do were handed FPNs during the Met’s investigation, and the images will raise new questions about why Johnson escaped sanction.

The photos obtained by ITV News show Johnson holding a glass of wine as others raise their glasses, as well as appearing to give a speech. The event on 13 November 2020 was to mark the departure of his head of communications, Lee Cain.

Johnson has denied in the House of Commons that an event took place on that date. Asked by the MP Catherine West “whether there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November”, Johnson replied at the time: “Mr Speaker, no. But I’m sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”

In the photos, Johnson appears to be giving a speech to assembled aides, with his ministerial red box on the chair beside him, next to bottles of fizz and empty glasses.

A No 10 spokesperson suggested police had access to the photos. “The Cabinet Office and the Met police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs,” the spokesperson said. “The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the prime minister will address parliament in full.”

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said it was clear Johnson had lied about the event. “While the British public were making huge sacrifices, Boris Johnson was breaking the law,” she said. “Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he knew nothing about law-breaking – there’s no doubt now, he lied. Boris Johnson made the rules, and then broke them.

“The prime minister has demeaned his office. The British people deserve better. While Labour has a plan for tackling the cost of living crisis, Tory MPs are too busy defending the indefensible actions of Boris Johnson.”

Earlier on Monday the prime minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings said photos would contradict the accounts of Partygate given by Johnson to police and parliament.

Read more here:

Steve Baker, a Tory MP, has shared a government and NHS campaign poster urging people to obey the rules, seemingly making a pointed comment about Partygate.

The image shows a woman breathing through an oxygen mask and says: “Look into her eyes and tell her you never bend the rules.”

He has not added a comment to the image in the tweet.

In April, the former minister called for Boris Johnson to quit for failing to obey his own Covid rules during Partygate, telling him “the gig’s up”.

Andrew Sparrow

Andrew Sparrow

Tom Hamilton, a former Labour adviser and co-author of a good book on PMQs (he used to help prepare Ed Milband for the weekly sessions) argues that Boris Johnson could defend his “No” to Catherine West about the 13 November party (see 4.36pm) on the grounds that he was saying no to ‘Could he tell the house?’ bit, not to the ‘Was there a party?’ bit. But he admits this will be a minority view.

Boris Johnson’s defence against misleading the House here is that the “No” relates to the “Can the PM tell us?” bit of the question rather than to the “Was there a party?” bit of the question. I – genuinely – believe this defence, but I suspect I am in a minority. https://t.co/QES4XL3Pa2

— Tom Hamilton (@thhamilton) May 23, 2022

That is all from me for today. My colleague Nicola Slawson is taking over now.

In its statement last week announcing the end of the Partygate investigation the Metropolitan police revealed that at least one fine was issued in relation to an event in Downing Street on 13 November 2020 – when Boris Johnson was photographed drinking at Lee Cain’s leaving do. There may have been more than one fine; the Met did not say how many fines were issued in connection with any particular event.

But there were two events investigated in Downing Street on 13 November: the Lee Cain leaving drinks, and a gathering in the Downing Street flat where Carrie Johnson, the PM’s wife, was reportedly celebrating the departure of Cain and Dominic Cummings with No 10 advisers who are her friends. Abba music was being played loudly, it has been claimed.

The Met did not say which of the two events triggered the fine or fines. But it is understood that some who attended the Cain leaving do were fined. And Carrie Johnson has not been fined over the gathering in the flat, and her husband was not fined in connection with either event. According to one report, Carrie Johnson told police she and her friends were holding a “strategy meeting”.

But the Met did say the fine or fines issued for 13 November were under regulation 8 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, which imposed restrictions on indoor gatherings of two or more people.

The SNP has urged Tory MPs to “do the decent thing” and get rid of Boris Johnson. This is from Ian Blackford, the party’s leader at Westminster.

These pictures clearly show, as the police investigation concluded, that parties did indeed take place at Downing Street during lockdown, and that the prime minister was there. It is sickening.

Boris Johnson told us firstly that no parties took place during lockdown, then he said he wasn’t at them and that he was angry about them. He is a serial liar and cannot be allowed to get away with it.

It is truly a disgrace that Tory MPs are keeping him in Downing Street – he demeans the office that he holds. It is time for them to do the decent thing, for once, and get rid of him. This charlatan should be an ex-prime minister by now.

Ian Blackford.
Ian Blackford. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

Here are some tweets from opposition MPs responding to the ITV Partygate photographs.

From David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary

According to the Prime Minister, he was ‘unaware’ of 5 bottles of wine and an empty bottle of spirits.

He has broken the rules, disgraced the office and taken us all for fools.

He should do the right thing and resign. pic.twitter.com/CvQh8eeSfO

— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) May 23, 2022

From Jo Stevens, the shadow Welsh secretary

I met a lady in #Wakefield this morning whose partner had died in December 2020 and whose birthday it would have been today. She is still grieving and still very very angry with @BorisJohnson Those Tory MPs saying people “aren’t bothered” about his law breaking anymore are wrong https://t.co/SyMVNEICmT

— Jo Stevens (@JoStevensLabour) May 23, 2022

From Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary

From the SNP’s Anum Qaisar

Alcohol on the table… yet apparently Boris didn’t break the rules.

Parliament may have procedure – but Boris should come to House of Commons – apologise and resign.

He’s lied and lied, yet is still in power.

What a bloody disgrace.https://t.co/OPI4n5wHr5

— Anum Qaisar MP (@AnumSNP) May 23, 2022

From Labour’s Jon Trickett

From the Lib Dems’ Helen Morgan

The lies and the cover-up are often even worse than the crime. How can he possibly have believed that all the rules were followed? A decent man would resign. https://t.co/zq9XUjlYc2

— Helen Morgan MP 🔶 (@HelenMorganMP) May 23, 2022

From Preet Kaur Gill, shadow international development secretary

As much as the PM and his cabinet will have you believe that no rules were broken or even any parties attended. Here is evidence that the PM lied to Parliament and the British Public. He must go! https://t.co/lwAkLimymw

— Preet Kaur Gill MP (@PreetKGillMP) May 23, 2022

This is from my colleague Jessica Elgot.

Feels untenable for the Met Police not to provide any explanation at all why this does not constitute a breach. Not sure public interest is being served by stonewalling all explanation of the decision-making. https://t.co/oyV9WyKh94

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) May 23, 2022

The Mirror’s Pippa Crerar says we will be hearing from the acting Met commissioner, Stephen House, later this week.

I bet Acting Met Commissioner Stephen House is really looking forward to his appearance in front of the London Assembly police & crime committee on Partygate at 10am this Thursday… https://t.co/UkF3QWRip1

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) May 23, 2022

Labour says there’s ‘no doubt now’ Johnson lied about Partygate

Labour says the new photographs prove beyond doubt that Boris Johnson lied to MPs. This is from Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader.

While the British public were making huge sacrifices, Boris Johnson was breaking the law.

Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he knew nothing about law-breaking – there’s no doubt now, he lied. Boris Johnson made the rules, and then broke them.

The prime minister has demeaned his office. The British people deserve better. While Labour has a plan for tackling the cost-of-living crisis, Tory MPs are too busy defending the indefensible actions of Boris Johnson.

Angela Rayner.
Angela Rayner. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Here are the three other pictures obtained by ITV. They all show Boris Johnson drinking at Lee Cain’s leaving do on 13 November 2020.

This certainly looks like a proper leaving drinks do, but Johnson’s defence may hinge on the definition of a party. Lee Cain, the PM’s director of communications, and Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, both left No 10 on the same day (13 November). Although their position had become increasingly precarious, they did not arrive at work that morning knowing it was going to be their final day, and Cain did not organise a specific do. Instead, it has been claimed by sources who were there that people in the press office often had a drink at the end of the week and that on this occasion, when Johnson arrived to say goodbye to Cain, the event became more convivial.

A photograph obtained by ITV News of the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020.
A photograph obtained by ITV News of the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020. Photograph: ITV News/PA
A photograph obtained by ITV News of the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020, with bottles of alcohol and party food on the table in front of him.
A photograph obtained by ITV News of the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020, with bottles of alcohol and party food on the table in front of him. Photograph: ITV News
A photograph obtained by ITV News of the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party.
A photograph obtained by ITV News of the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party. Photograph: ITV News

How Johnson told MPs there was no party in No 10 on 13 November – the day he was pictured drinking at leaving do

On 8 December last year the Labour MP Catherine West specifically asked Boris Johnson at PMQs if there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November. She was referring to 13 November 2020. Johnson replied:

No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.

“Can the prime minister tell the House whether there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November?” asks Labour’s Catherine West

“No, but I’m sure whatever happened the guidance… and the rules were followed at all times,” says the PM

#PMQs https://t.co/sPXyCwRMtj pic.twitter.com/GDuUAPIRHH

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 8, 2021

No 10 plays down significance of pictures showing PM drinking at No 10 leaving do

No 10 has played down the significance of the new Partygate photographs, arguing that the Met police had access to photographs when it carried out its investigation. A No 10 spokesperson said:

The Cabinet Office and the Met police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs. The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the prime minister will address parliament in full.

This is what Boris Johnson told MPs on 8 December last year after ITV broadcast a clip of Allegra Stratton joking about a Christmas party that took place in Downing Street in December 2020.

May I begin by saying that I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures? I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, because I was also furious to see that clip. I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives.

Pictures released showing PM drinking at No 10 leaving do during lockdown in November 2020

ITV News’ Paul Brand has obtained photographs of Boris Johnson drinking at a Downing Street event that looks very much like a party.

The pictures were taken at a leaving do for Lee Cain, the PM’s director of communications, on 13 November 2020.

Picture obtained by ITV of PM drinking at a party in No 10 on 13 November 2020
Picture obtained by ITV of PM drinking at a party in No 10 on 13 November 2020. Photograph: ITV News

The images will fuel claims that Johnson was lying when he told MPs more than a year later that all the Covid guidance was followed in Downing Street and that people abided by the rules.



Partygate: pictures emerge showing Boris Johnson drinking at No 10 leaving do during lockdown – live | Politics Source link Partygate: pictures emerge showing Boris Johnson drinking at No 10 leaving do during lockdown – live | Politics

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