New No. 10 rule-breaking claims emerge as PM plans fight

New allegations of rule-breaking have emerged in Downing Street as it was reported that Boris Johnson is looking to resume his leadership after a grueling week.

The prime minister’s administration was forced to apologize at Buckingham Palace on Friday after two staff parties reportedly erupted on the eve of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray, who investigated the claims of the lockdown-ending parties in the government, is said to have been “completely blinded” by the latest revelations, The Times reports.

The newspaper said officials are concerned that Downing Street employees are withholding information about the parties from it because it claimed on Friday that the employees gathered after work for two events on 16 April 2021, which were separate. and later merged.

Witnesses said the wine was drunk and the guests danced to music, with a man sent to a local shop to buy alcohol, according to The Telegraph, which first reported the allegations.

Meanwhile, more claims emerged on Friday evening of regular “Wine Time Friday” gatherings at No 10 while coronavirus rules were in place.

The Mirror said the weekly schedules are a “long-standing Downing Street tradition”, including those in previous administrations, but they continued even after COVID restrictions were imposed to restrict indoor mixing between homes .

The newspaper said that employees invested £142 in drink fridges to keep their wine bottles cold, and that the prime minister was aware of socializing.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “An investigation is underway to establish the facts surrounding the nature of the gatherings, including attendance, setting and purpose, in terms of adherence to the guidance at the time.

“The findings will be made public in due course.”

It comes after reports suggested Mr Johnson was starting a fight back after a week, The Times and the Daily Telegraph both said he had been in touch with political strategist Lynton Crosby, who served as the mayor of London. Helped to get selected.

Mr Johnson would like to move beyond the so-called partygate by lifting Plan B measures, such as the work-from-home guidance, The Telegraph reported.

The restrictions, which were designed to slow the spread of the Omicron version of the coronavirus, are due to expire on January 26, subject to review.

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Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said Boris Johnson ‘needs to change his ways’ (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Leveling-up Secretary Michael Gove indicated that the dismissal could happen as part of a shake-up at the top of the government, but dismissed a suggestion that Mr Johnson should be one of the people to go.

Referring to the need for Ms Gray’s investigation to establish what happened, the cabinet minister told ITV News: “If there is a specific need to take disciplinary action or responsibility, then let’s do that, let’s do it quickly.” But let’s do it with all the facts in front of us.”

Mr Johnson is facing criticism, including from those on his front bench, after attending a “bring your own wine” garden party at No 10 on 20 May 2020, which he insisted he would Understand as a “work event”.

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said the prime minister “needed to change his ways” as he recalled how, in the same month when some of Number 10 were “not behaving fairly”, he supported his children before dying. were not able to.

He and his wife Flora’s newborn twin boys, Teddy and Rafe, died the following month.

Speaking to the BBC’s Politics North programme, the Tory MP said: “I feel very emotional about this because in May 2020 my wife and children were unwell and went to the hospital.

“I couldn’t be there to support them.”

Meanwhile, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to use a speech on Saturday to put more pressure on the under-fired prime minister.

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Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to put pressure on Boris Johnson in a speech on Saturday (Jacob King/PA)

He is expected to tell the Fabian Society conference: “We are witnessing the broken spectacle of a prime minister shrouded in deceit and deceit, who is incapable of leading.”

Sir Keir will deliver his speech while enjoying his party’s election boom, with a poll recording that Labor has reached its largest projected vote share in nearly a decade.

A Savanta Comrade poll, its first intended poll since Partygate’s allegations broke, put Labor on 42 points, up five, Boris Johnson’s Tories on 32, down one.

The Daily Mail published an image of Sir Keir – which first emerged in the spring of last year – speaking to party workers in an office on the local election mark last year drinking a bottle of beer when indoor mixing was not permitted. , unless it was for work.

Labour, who was contacted for comment, previously said the photo was from a workplace incident, with Sir Keir and “a local MP” “stayed over for dinner because the meeting was during the evening”. .