A “bring your own booze party” attended by Boris Johnson during the first Covid lockdown and a gathering to mark the Prime Minister’s birthday are among 12 parties being investigated by police.
In her report, Sue Gray said that just four of the 16 events which she looked into are not now the subject of Metropolitan Police inquiries.
The parties being investigated by the Met are:
– May 20 2020: Bring Your Own Booze party:
A leaked email from the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds showed No 10 staff were invited to “bring your own booze” to an event in the Downing St garden.
Mr Johnson has admitted he was there for 25 minutes, but said he thought it was a “work event” to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
– June 18 2020: Cabinet Office leaving do:
A gathering in the 70 Whitehall building to mark the departure of a No 10 private secretary, which had not previously been disclosed.
– June 19 2020: Boris Johnson’s 56th birthday:
Downing Street has admitted staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room in what was reportedly a surprise get-together for the Prime Minister organized by his then fiancee (now wife), Carrie Symonds.
The PA news agency was told Lulu Lytle, the interior designer behind lavish renovations of the Downing Street flat, briefly attended while undertaking work in Downing Street.
However No 10 has denied a report that later the same evening, family and friends were hosted upstairs to celebrate the occasion.
– November 13 2020: Downing Street flat do:
Ms Symonds reportedly hosted parties in the official flat over No 11 where she and Mr Johnson live, including one event on November 13, the night of Dominic Cummings’ acrimonious departure.
A spokesman for the PM’s wife has called the claim “total nonsense”.
– November 13 2020: Leaving party for senior aide:
According to reports at the time, Mr Johnson gave a leaving speech for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications and a close ally of Mr Cummings.
– December 17 2020: Cabinet Office “Christmas party”:
The Cabinet Secretary Simon Case removed himself from the inquiry into Whitehall parties – to be replaced by Ms Gray – after reports emerged of a gathering in the Cabinet Office.
It was reported the do had been organized by a private secretary in Mr Case’s team, and that it was included in digital calendars as: “Christmas party!” and included an online quiz.
The Cabinet Office said Mr Case played no part in the event, “but walked through the team’s office on the way to his own office”.
– December 17 2020: Leaving drinks for former Covid Taskforce head:
The former director-general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce Kate Josephs said she was “truly sorry” over leaving drinks held in the Cabinet Office.
– December 17 2020: No 10 leaving do:
A leaving do for a departing Downing Street official.
– December 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party:
Officials and advisers reportedly made speeches, enjoyed a cheese board, drank together and exchanged Secret Santa gifts, although the Prime Minister is not thought to have attended.
Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman Allegra Stratton resigned after video emerged of her joking about a “fictional party” at a mock press conference;
– January 14 2021: More Downing Street leaving drinks:
A gathering in No 10 on the departure of two private secretaries.
– April 16, 2021; Leaving drinks on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral:
The night before the Queen sat alone at the funeral of her husband of almost 70 years in compliance with Covid rules at the time, two leaving dos were reportedly held in No 10.
Downing Street apologized to Buckingham Palace after reported details emerged of boozy drinks parties, including one for outgoing communications director James Slack.
– Events not subject to police investigation:
– May 15 2020: Cheese and wine in the No 10 garden:
A photograph emerged of a number of groups gathered in the No 10 garden, including Mr Johnson, Ms Symonds, Mr Cummings and Mr Reynolds sitting together on the terrace.
– November 27 2020: Another a special adviser leaves:
Mr Johnson reportedly gave a leaving speech at a gathering for Cleo Watson, another ally of Mr Cummings.
– December 10 2020: Department of Education Christmas drinks:
Then education secretary Gavin Williamson reportedly threw a party and delivered a short speech at his department’s Whitehall headquarters.
– December 15 2020: An online Christmas quiz in No 10:
The Prime Minister appeared on contestants’ screens at the quiz but insisted he broke no rules.