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Boris Johnson under growing pressure from lawmakers over ‘BYOB’ party during lockdown


On Monday night, it emerged that his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, had emailed an invitation to more than 100 Downing Street staffers to “socially distanced drinks in the No. 10 garden” on May 20, 2020.

The email, which has been independently confirmed by CNN, told guests to “bring your own booze” and “make the most of the lovely weather.”

This happened while the UK was in a hard lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19. At the time, people in England were banned from meeting with more than one other person outdoors, and would be legally punished for doing so. In workplaces, official guidance stated that in-person meetings should only take place if “absolutely necessary.”

Johnson has refused to deny reports that he and his wife, Carrie Johnson, attended the event. But later Wednesday Johnson was set to face questions in Parliament on whether he was there; whether he knew about the drinks or sanctioned them; and whether he misled Parliament about a series of parties reportedly held at Downing Street during several lockdowns in 2020.

If a government minister breaches the ministerial code, it is expected that they would resign from their job.

Members of Johnson’s own Conservative party have already come out strongly, with the leader of the Scottish Conservatives saying Johnson must resign if it transpires he attended these drinks.

The May 20 allegation comes after a string of scandals questioning precisely how fit Johnson is for office. The scandals range from an attempt to fix rules to prevent one of his Conservative allies — who had broken lobbying rules — from being suspended from Parliament, to handing lucrative Covid-19 contracts to people closely associated with the Conservative party.

Before Christmas, stories emerged of numerous drinks parties taking place in Downing Street during various stages of lockdown in the UK. The bombshell allegations affected Johnson’s poll ratings and as of this week, a majority of British citizens believe that if Johnson did attend the May 20 drinks party then he should resign as Prime Minister.


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