Boris Johnson faces fresh allegations of lockdown rule breaking over birthday gathering

The Prime Minister faced fresh allegations of breaking lockdown rules last night, following reports that there was a birthday celebration hosted for him in Number 10 during restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital in Buckinghamshire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital in Buckinghamshire

Downing Street last night admitted that Boris Johnson attended the event in the Cabinet Room in June 2020, which had as many as 30 guests,

Labour are calling again for Mr Johnson to go following this latest in a long line of allegations of gatherings at the heart of Government while rules were in place.

ITV News reported last night that Mr Johnson’s now-wife Carrie attended the get-together and presented him with a cake, and the room was led in a rendition of Happy Birthday.

The report suggested that the gathering lasted half an hour, and guests snacked on Marks & Spencer food. There are also suggestions that the interior designer Lulu Lytle, who worked on the Downing Street flat refurbishment, was present.

ITV also said there was a later event in the flat, where family and friends were hosted. Number 10 has denied that this happened. At the time, indoor gatherings were still banned under strict Covid restrictions.

A No 10 spokeswoman said last night: “A group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the Prime Minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than 10 minutes.”

Of the allegation of a later event, they added: “This is totally untrue.

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“In line with the rules at the time, the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening,” the No 10 spokeswoman added.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the revelations as “yet more evidence that we have got a Prime Minister who believes that the rules that he made don’t apply to him”,

In a statement released last night, he added: “So we have got a Prime Minister and a government who spend their whole time mopping up sleaze and deceit.

“Meanwhile, millions of people are struggling to pay their bills. We cannot afford to go on with this chaotic, rudderless government.

“The Prime Minister is a national distraction and he’s got to go.”

The allegations come as the report into allegations of events in Whitehall is expected within the next few days.

Sue Gray has been tasked with investigating a litany of allegations about parties and gatherings held in 2020 and 2021 while a variety of Covid restrictions were in place.

These include a “bring your own booze” event at No 10 on May 20 2020, which the Prime Minister has admitted attending but that he said he thought was a work event.

The probe also takes in two leaving parties held in Downing Street the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister looked to skirt queries about whether any further allegations of rule-breaking were likely to emerge, during a broadcast interview.

However, there were questions raised about the transparency of the report, after Number 10 suggested it may be up to Boris Johnson to decide what is and is not made public from the document.

Mr Johnson’s former top aide Dominic Cummings said further evidence of parties held across Whitehall, including in No 10, during coronavirus restrictions was being suppressed by staff “because they know the PM will see everything SG (Sue Gray) collects”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said “it’s very much our intention to publish the findings in full as set out in the terms of reference”.

But asked if it was up to the Prime Minister or Ms Gray what could be published, the spokesman said: “I think it is a report that comes to the Prime Minister.”

Mr Cummings also suggested that meant that further evidence, including photographs, will keep leaking after her report.

“I know others are very worried about handing things to the Cabinet Office because they know the PM will see everything SG collects,” Mr Cummings said on his blog.

Last night it emerged that Ms Gray was already aware of the birthday party allegations and they will not delay her report.