Related video – cabinet minister orders people to stay home before No 0 party took place
Boris Johnson cannot “run and hide” from fresh claims that he attended a lockdown-busting party in Downing Street, Labour has said.
Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, is calling on the prime minister to explain if he was present at the party in Downing Street’s garden on 20 May 2020.
No 10 has so far refused to comment. An email, sent by Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds – and leaked to ITV News yesterday – said 100 were invited. It is understood that up 30 people attended the gathering. Multiple sources have said the PM was among them.
“He’s got to answer. If I went to a party, I know I went to the party. He’s got to explain – was he at the party?” Mr Miliband told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme.
“How can he possibly justify all of the things he said in the House of Commons – that no rules were broken, that he did nothing wrong? He is going to have to answer.”
Watch: Miliband says Boris Johnson needs to ‘come clean’ over Downing Street party allegations
Miliband says Boris Johnson needs to ‘come clean’ over Downing Street party allegations
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:35
What rules were the public being told to follow when No 10 aide organised lockdown gathering?
Boris Johnson is accused of attending a lockdown-breaking party that a leaked email said 100 Downing Street staff were invited to.
It took place on 20 May 2020 – what were the Covid rules at the time?
Sophie Wingate takes a look:
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:32
‘This line won’t survive 48 hours’
Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson condemned the Downing Street drinks party in May 2020, saying “People are (rightly) furious.”
Health minister Edward Argar claimed on the broadcast round this morning that it would be inappropriate for him to comment on whether Boris Johnson was there while Sue Gray investigates the reports.
Responding to his interview with the BBC, Baroness Davidson tweeted: “This line won’t survive 48 hrs.
“Nobody needs an official to tell them if they were at a boozy shindig in their own garden. People are (rightly) furious. They sacrificed so much – visiting sick or grieving relatives, funerals. What tf were any of these people thinking?”
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:29
Minister: ‘Vitally important’ police are allowed to do their job
Health minister Edward Argar said it is “vitally important” that the police and senior official Sue Gray, who is leading an investigation, are able to do their jobs without members of the government speculating about what happened at the gathering in the Downing Street garden on 20 May2020.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s vitally important, I think, that Ms Gray is able to do that job and, potentially equally, those police conversations with the Cabinet Office – I don’t know the substance of those, I don’t know what they have been about – but I think it’s important that they are able to have those conversations without ministers speculating in advance of that investigation.”
He added: “I want to know exactly what happened, what did or didn’t happen”, and said he looks forward to Ms Gray publishing her findings “as swiftly as possible”.
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:22
‘Is this for real?’ Downing Street staff criticised No.10 party at the time, leaked messages show
Downing Street’s own staff criticised the garden party hosted at No.10 in the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, leaked messages show.
One staff member asked “Is this for real?” after getting a message from Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting them to “bring your own booze”.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more below:
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:17
What are the latest party reports?
According to a leaked email, more than 100 Downing Street staff were invited to a lockdown-busting party in the Downing Street garden at the height of Covid restrictions in May 2020.
Multiple sources have said Mr Johnson was one of those in attendance, although No 10 has so far refused to say if he PM was there.
My colleagues Ashley Cowburn and Anna Isaac have the story:
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:11
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s politics liveblog.
We’ll bring you all the action from Westminster and elsewhere as the day progresses.
Matt Mathers11 January 2022 09:07