Labor has accused Boris Johnson of ignoring “rules made for the rest of us”, after a leaked email showed his private secretary at No. 10 arranging lockdown-busting drinks in the garden.
As ITV reports, the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Artin Reynolds, sent an email to more than 100 Downing Street employees asking them to “bring your own wine” for an evening gathering.
Mr Reynolds said that despite England’s strict COVID-19 restrictions in May 2020, they should “take advantage of the sweetest season”.
Many people … would see it as downright despicable that when they were actually told to follow the rules, Boris Johnson and No. 10 were breaking the rules.Labor Deputy Leader Angel Rayner
Deputy Labor leader Angela Renner said Mr Johnson “should be ashamed” after further claims of rule-breaking at No. 10, which she described as “disgusting”.
The Prime Minister imposed England’s first lockdown to combat COVID-19 in March 2020 and it was not until 1 June that groups of six people were allowed to meet outside.
Mr Reynolds’ email pertains to an incident on 20 May 2020.
Allegations of that gathering, which was said to have been attended by 40 people, surfaced last week when Mr Johnson’s former senior aide Dominic Cummings said he had warned at the time that “socially distanced drinking” was against the rules. is likely to happen and “should not”.
The Sunday Times and ITV have alleged that the prime minister attended the event along with his wife, Carrie Johnson.
Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner, who explains the coronavirus rules on Twitter to the public, said the alleged incident “is unlikely to be legal for those in attendance”.
Wagner posted on social media, “At the time it was illegal to be out of the home unless (the only potentially relevant exception) it was for a requirement to work.”
“‘Socially distanced drinks’/’BYOB’ don’t sound like work.”
Labor’s Ms Rainer said senior civil servant Sue Grey, who is investigating allegations of breaking the government’s lockdown, should confirm that the leaked email will form part of her investigation.
A Cabinet Office official has already confirmed that it is investigating the May 20 incident as part of its investigation, as well as a separate 15 May 2020 garden gathering, which was revealed from a leaked photo in which the Prime Minister Ministers and staff sat around a table with cheese and wine.
Ms Rainer told ITV News: “It’s horrifying and I think many people who see the evidence now will not only think that Boris Johnson’s lies are catching up with him, but will see it as absolutely disgusting. When he was actually asked to follow the rules, Boris Johnson and No. 10 were breaking the rules.
“It’s shameful and he should be ashamed.”
Asked whether the police should be involved in Ms Gray doing wrong in government during the lockdown, Sir Keir Starmer’s deputy said: “If she has clearly broken the law, she should be sent to the police And the police should handle it.
“No one is above the law. Many people at the time couldn’t go to funerals, couldn’t meet families and friends, and they would hate it because not only does it look like Boris Johnson is breaking his rules, but he’s lying to people. to too, and that is completely unacceptable and not what you expect from a British Prime Minister.”
Ms Rainer said in a separate statement, Mr Johnson has “consistently shown that he has no respect for the rules he has made for the rest of us”.
He added, “Labor welcomes Sue Grey’s investigation, but we need confirmation that this latest revelation, and no other side that has yet emerged from the press investigation, are involved in its investigation.” will be,” she said.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “This is yet further evidence that while the majority of people were sticking to the rules, the number 10 people were breaking them.
“To add insult to injury, on the same day that the Culture Secretary said people could only meet in pairs, it looked like Boris Johnson’s staff were having a boozy party in Downing Street.”
Sir Ed said Ms Gray’s inquiry “should interview Boris Johnson personally” to get to the bottom of the Downing Street parties’ claims.
Number 10 has not been contacted for comment.