Email puts ‘disgraceful’ UK PM under mounting pressure to resign 

January 12, 2022 - 10:0

After the British Prime Minister denied breaking the government’s own lockdown rules on so many occasions, new evidence has emerged showing Boris Johnson was potentially lying to the public on multiple occasions.

At a time when the country was ordered by the government to observe the most strictest of lockdown measures, a leaked email proves Downing Street staff were holding a party breaking all the lockdown rules. 

The email by the Prime Minister's Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds, leaked to British media shows government staff were invited to a party in the Number 10 garden during the height of nationwide lockdown to "make the most of the lovely weather" on May 20 last year. 

This was the same time when many in the country were suffering psychological torture from isolation after being banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors.

Reynolds sent the email to over a hundred employees in Downing Street, including the Prime Minister's advisors, speechwriters and door staff.

In it, Reynolds, who has run Johnson's private office since October 2019 says:

"Hi, all, 

After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.Please join us from 6pm"

British media reports say around 40 government staff broke the law and gathered in the garden that evening. 

There are many reports that indicate among those who attended included the Prime Minister and his wife.

Scotland Yard has announced that the Metropolitan Police is considering investigating the event.

Senior police officers are meeting to discuss the situation. 

The Metropolitan police says it was “aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020” adding it had made contact with the Cabinet Office. 

The party was first brought to public attention by the Prime Minister's former advisor Dominic Cummings.

The email also follows accusations about staff gathering in the garden on May 15, when a photograph emerged of Johnson and his wife sitting with government staff including Reynolds on the terrace eating and drinking. 

Downing Street has previously insisted that the photograph showed a work meeting. 

The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied accusations he broke the law; which the British public was forced to adhere to or face a financial punishment. 

However, the email about the party on May 20 makes it clear that this party was a social gathering, which is far harder to explain away as social mixing was banned during that period, except with one other person from another household in a public place.

Even more ironically, on that day, less than one hour before the party in question, the then Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, had delivered a press conference reminding the rest of the country that only two people are allowed to meet outdoors.

The latest revelations will have huge impacts on the future of the Prime Minister, there are fresh calls for Johnson to step down.

The main opposition Labour party’s leader Kheir Starmer has told
the PM on social media “Boris Johnson, your deflections and distractions are absurd. Not only did you know about the parties in Downing Street, you attended them. Stop lying to the British public. It's time to finally come clean”. 

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner says “It's terrible and I think many people that see the evidence now will not only think that Boris Johnson's lies are catching up with him, but will see it as absolutely despicable that when they were told to follow the rules, Boris Johnson and Number 10 were breaking the rules.

Rayner adds "It's disgraceful and he should be ashamed. At the time this party took place, key workers on the frontline were working round the clock to keep us all safe, people suffered loneliness and loss in unimaginably tough circumstances.”

The Liberal Democrat Party Leader Ed Davey says: "Yet again it's one rule for Boris Johnson and another rule for the rest of us. This time a massive garden party at his place while people were dying alone."

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader, said the email was “utterly outrageous”

“Boris Johnson must come clean and admit whether he attended, or was aware of, this Covid rule-breaking party in his own back garden”

He also says “If the prime minister had a shred of integrity or an ounce of shame, he would have resigned many months ago. He has no moral authority left, and as he won’t go – his Tory MPs have a duty to remove him from power.”

According to British media reports, some government employees expressed concern over the invitation. One anonymous person invited reportedly said, “Um. Why is Martin encouraging a mass gathering in the garden?”. Another asked: “Is this for real?”

Conservative Party Members of Parliament are said to be furious about the leaked email. One frontbencher said: “I think this is the worst exposed the prime minister has ever been by these leaks. There’s no explanation, there’s no way to distance himself. His only savior is if the public has given up caring.”

A senior Tory insider says “the rules were not just tweaked but snapped in half. This is now incredibly close to the PM. It’s very tricky to sack someone [Reynolds] for a party he [Johnson] attended.”

Another has told British media fresh report is "indefensible" and the situation is "as bad as it gets".

Johnson’s spokesperson has declined to comment amid an ongoing inquiry into other potential breaches of the lockdown by the government itself.

There have been reports of at least five other alleged gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall in winter 2020, including a Christmas party, a party for a government staff who was quitting, one involving a quiz event, a party at number 11 Downing Street and another social gathering at the Department for Education.

Family members of those who died from Covid have reacted with anger to the leaked email. A spokesperson for the ‘Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice’ group said: “My dad died just four days before this email was sent out, he was only 55 and was a fit and healthy key worker … to think that whilst it was happening, Boris Johnson was making the ‘most of the weather’ and throwing a party for 100 people is truly beyond belief.

The spokesperson for the group adds “At the time, everyone would have known that going to a party was wrong, so how can those running the country have thought it was OK? Could there be a more disgraceful example of ‘one rule for them, and another rule for the rest of us’?

“To make matters worse, in September last year I sat in that same garden, looked the prime minister in the eyes, and told him how my dad had died. He told me he had ‘done everything he could’ to protect my dad, knowing that he had partied in that same spot the very day that my father’s death certificate was signed. It makes me feel sick to think about it.”

Following the leak of the email, other bereaved relatives have also made their anger clear. 

The government has offered different explanations for each new scandal, but this time, the prime minister has been left personally exposed.

Johnson can take the position of avoiding making any comment (and save time) as an investigation by a senior civil servant is already taking place. But the pressure is piling on Johnson leaving the Premier with no shield for protection over his continuous breaking of the rules. 

On the day of the reported event, 363 people were announced dead after testing positive for COVID-19. Britons had only just been allowed to meet with one person from another household outside (as long as they remained two metres apart), while mixing with another household, even another family household indoors was prohibited. 

A party spokesman says he can understand the public anger.

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