icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
11 Dec, 2021 16:12

More lockdown party scandals about to hit Johnson

More lockdown party scandals about to hit Johnson

The infamous Christmas party at Downing Street apparently wasn’t the only lockdown-defying soiree hosted by top Conservative Party officials. According to reports, evidence of more ill-advised gatherings is about to come out.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ratings have plummeted after footage leaked this week showed Downing Street staffers laughing and joking about a Christmas party held there last December 18, while the rest of the country was under Tier 3 lockdown restrictions. The scandal has already led to the resignation of Johnson’s spokeswoman, and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case has expanded his probe into the party to include two other gatherings: a leaving party at Number 10 on November 27, 2020, and and a party in the Education Department on December 10.

However, these events are just the tip of the iceberg, according to Downing Street insiders and media reports.

Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former chief of staff, described the leaving party as a “red herring,” and said Case should instead look into a party at Johnson’s flat on November 13, as well as “other flat parties.”

Cumings claimed on Friday that there are yet more parties to be revealed, and that “there's lots of pictures of the parties which will inevitably get out.” The Guardian reported on Friday that in addition to the November 13 party referenced by Cummings, “various little drinks things” took place in Downing Street and at the PM’s residence during the first lockdown of spring 2020, including a “wine and pizza” gathering for Tory advisors after a Covid press conference.

Days before the Downing Street party that triggered the current scandal, Conservative Party staff “danced and drank wine late into the night” at a “raucous” party, The Times reported on Thursday. The event took place in the basement of the party’s London headquarters, and staff were allegedly reprimanded for damaging a door in the building. Several of Johnson’s aides were reportedly present.

It’s not just Johnson embroiled in the party fiasco. A Times report on Saturday said around two dozen Treasury staff held a drinks party in their office last November 25 to celebrate Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review. At the time, the public was advised to remain at home except for exercise or food.

The Times’ sources said the party wasn’t planned, and that Sunak apparently wasn’t in attendance or aware of the event.

Case’s inquiry is set to wrap up before Christmas, though the mood in Downing Street will not be a festive one. A spokesperson for Johnson announced on Friday that Christmas parties would be canceled at Number 10 this year, after the government introduced Plan B restrictions. The spokesperson insisted that the public would be free to gather in hospitality venues, and denied that the cancellations had anything to do with the scandal currently engulfing the prime minister.