Number 10 pushes cabinet behind Johnson as PM faces calls to leave drinks party


A cabinet minister said the coronavirus lockdown rules were “too tough for the people” as allies rallied Boris Johnson during his appearance at the No. 10 drinks event, while social gatherings were banned.

The prime minister apologized for attending a “bring your own wine” party in Downing Street Garden in May 2020 during the first coronavirus lockdown, but insisted he believed it was a work event And “technically” could have been within the rules.

Members of the government urged critics of the prime minister to wait for the findings of an official investigation into alleged lockdown-busting parties before passing a decision after Tory lawmakers publicly called for him to quit.

It was reported on Thursday night that two parties were held in Downing Street on 16 April 2021, a day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral amid tight coronavirus restrictions in Windsor.

The Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson did not attend events that were organized to mark the departure of James Slack, the PM’s former director of communications and one of the PM’s personal photographers.

It said that about 30 people took part in both events combined, at a time when government guidance stated: “You should not socialize indoors, except in your home or support bubbles. You should not socialize outside, including in gardens. Can meet in groups of six people or two houses.”

The prime minister on Thursday pulled out of a planned visit to a vaccination center in Lancashire, where he had to face media questions about his actions, after a family member tested positive for the coronavirus.

The situation would keep him out of the public eye, with Downing Street saying he would follow advice to limit contacts “including until Tuesday of next week” despite not self-isolating because he has been vaccinated.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating a series of parties and celebrations held at Number 10 and Whitehall in 2020 while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The prime minister came here yesterday and apologized. He said that, in retrospect, what he should have been or what he wanted to be was not.