Boris Johnson attended No 10 lockdown party in May 2020 – reports

British prime minister reportedly present for 15 minutes following Covid press briefing

Alleged event was held on the same day that Matt Hancock, then UK health secretary, urged people to ‘please stick with the rules’. Photograph: Frank Augstein/Pool/AFP via Getty

Alleged event was held on the same day that Matt Hancock, then UK health secretary, urged people to ‘please stick with the rules’. Photograph: Frank Augstein/Pool/AFP via Getty

 

It has been alleged that the British prime minister attended a party with No 10 staff during the first UK lockdown in May last year.

The Guardian and the British Independent reported that Boris Johnson was present for 15 minutes at the gathering said to have taken place on May 15th, 2020, following a Covid press conference.

The newspapers said the alleged event was held on the same day that Matt Hancock, then health secretary, urged people to “please stick with the rules”.

At the time the party is said to have taken place, people were only permitted to meet one other person from outside their household in an outdoor, public place, and were told to keep two metres apart.

According to the reports, sources claimed that about 20 staff attended, drinking alcohol and eating pizza.

Some were said to have gathered in offices inside No 10 and others in the garden. It is alleged that drinking went on late into the evening.

The prime minister reportedly told one attendee that they deserved a drink for “beating back” the virus.

Hannah Brady, a spokeswoman for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice whose father died from the virus the day after the alleged event, said the reports made her sick.

She said that she met Mr Johnson some months later, when she showed him a photo of her father in hospital, taken on the day of the reported gathering.

“The prime minister looked me in the eye and told me he’d ‘done everything he could’ to protect my dad. It’s disgusting,” she said.

The papers said that, when asked about Mr Johnson’s “beating back” comment and his presence at the alleged party where staff were said to be drinking and socialising, a No 10 spokesperson told them: “In the summer months Downing Street staff regularly use the garden for some meetings.

“On May 15th, 2020, the prime minister held a series of meetings throughout the afternoon, including briefly with the then-health and care secretary and his team in the garden following a press conference.

“The prime minister went to his residence shortly after 7pm. A small number of staff required to be in work remained in the Downing Street garden for part of the afternoon and evening.” – PA