- A minister inadvertently admitted there was a party in Downing Street during the lockdown.
- Last week Boris Johnson insisted he believed the May 20, 2020 rally was a ‘working event’.
- It came after a minister directly criticized Johnson’s Downing Street operation on parties.
A minister has admitted a party was held in Downing Street after Boris Johnson’s former aide claimed the Prime Minister lied about his knowledge of the lockdown breaking event before it happened.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has slammed claims by Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings that the Prime Minister lied in the House of Commons when he said he was ‘nonsense’ had no advance knowledge of an aperitif in the Downing Street garden.
But during the same Sky News interview he inadvertently described the drink rally – which Johnson insisted last week he believed was a “work event” – as a party.
“There has been speculation that the May 20 party was held in my honor to thank me,” Raab said.
Sky News host Kay Burley replied: ‘So it was a party? before Raab backtracks and adds that he was uninvited and not present.
The Prime Minister faces another torrid week as reports of other parties in Downing Street continue to emerge. Cummings’ allegations are potentially the most serious to date as they suggest the Prime Minister lied to Parliament, which is generally seen as a breach serious enough to warrant a resignation.
Cummings, who quit Downing Street and became a fierce critic of the Prime Minister, said in a blog post on Monday that he had told Johnson to cancel the event and said: ‘You have to get this madhouse under control .”
—Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) January 17, 2022
He said Johnson “got him off”. Cummings also said he told Martin Reynolds – the official who organized the party – that the event broke lockdown rules.
Downing Street has strongly denied these claims, and Dominic Raab on Monday told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program that there was a “categorical assertion” that Cummings had not told the truth.
In a further escalation of the Prime Minister’s troubles, a minister openly criticized Johnson’s Downing Street operation on parties.
Science Minister George Freeman told a constituent in a letter last week that he was “shocked and flabbergasted” by the reports, The Times of London reported. He said “the Prime Minister and his office should set the highest standards”.
A poll released Monday by pollsters Redfield & Wilton puts Labor at 43 points against 30% for the Conservatives, down 5 points from the previous week.
—Britain Elects (@BritainElects) January 17, 2022
Civil servant Sue Gray, who is charged with investigating the alleged parties, is expected to publish her report by next week, and her findings could decide the fate of Johnson’s premiership.
The government also suffered defeat in the House of Lords as it tried to introduce greater police powers.