Police investigate Johnson’s birthday and gathering at Downing Street flat

An alleged anti-lockdown party at Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat and a rally in the Cabinet Room to mark his birthday are under police investigation.

A report produced by senior civil servant Sue Gray listed a series of ‘failures of leadership and judgement’ within No 10 and the Cabinet Office as England was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021 .

But she was unable to provide meaningful findings as police were now investigating at least 12 gatherings linked to government properties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

A policeman outside the door of 10 Downing Street on Monday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

They include a ‘gathering at No 10 Downing Street flat’ on November 13, 2020, the night Mr Johnson’s former aides Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain left office.

Police are also investigating the June 19, 2020 event in the Cabinet Room at No 10 to mark the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday where Mr Johnson was ‘ambushed by a cake’, in the words of Minister Conor Burns, although he later insisted there was no cake.

The Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, is said to have hosted the surprise encounter with a ‘happy birthday’ choir and interior designer Lulu Lytle also admitted to witnessing the lavish and controversial work being carried out on their Downing flat Street.

Downing Street Party Gate
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, Westminster, for the House of Commons (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The May 20, 2020, ‘bring your own booze’ event at No 10 Garden which Mr Johnson attended for 25 minutes, apparently thinking it was a business event, is also the subject of investigation.

Mr Johnson will face MPs on Monday afternoon, struggling to maintain his grip on power.

Ms Gray’s limited report listed 16 occurrences she looked into as part of her investigation, but she said only four of them were not being investigated by police.

“Unfortunately this necessarily means that I am extremely limited in what I can say about these events and it is not possible at this time to provide a meaningful report setting out and analyzing the detailed factual information that I have been able to gather. “, she said.

But his conclusions about the broader culture within the “heart of government” were scathing.

“In the context of the pandemic, as the government asked citizens to accept significant restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviors surrounding these gatherings are difficult to justify,” she said.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to uphold not only the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government, but also the standards expected of the wider British population at the time.”

There was ‘too little thought’ given to what was happening in the country at the time and ‘failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times’.

“Some events should not have happened.

“Other events should not have developed as they did.”

The Downing Street garden was used as an extension of the office in a ‘reasonable’ precaution against the spread of Covid-19, Ms Gray said, but ‘has also been used for gatherings without clear permission or supervision’ and ‘this was not appropriate”.

The report also alluded to the drinking culture in government, with media suggesting ‘wine hour Fridays’ were a feature of No 10 during the pandemic.

Ms Gray’s findings did not mention these reports, but she said: ‘Excessive alcohol consumption is not appropriate at any time in a professional workplace.

“Steps should be taken to ensure that every government department has a clear and robust policy in place regarding the use of alcohol in the workplace.”

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