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Partygate: All the excuses used by Boris Johnson for law-breaking parties

Prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak have been issued with mounted penalty discover fines by police investigating breaches of Covid regulation.

The Metropolitan Police has introduced greater than 50 fines for authorities workers members over law-breaking parties held at Downing Street and Whitehall throughout the Covid pandemic.

Labour has referred to as on each the PM and chancllor to go, saying they’re “unfit to govern”. So what precisely have Mr Johnson, his officers and ministers mentioned about social gatherings throughout the partygate saga?

‘All guidance follow’ – Partygate story breaks

On 1 December, Boris Johnson instructed the Commons “all guidance was followed completely in No 10” after it emerged gatherings had been held during times of strict Covid curbs the earlier Christmas.

Labour chief Keir Starmer accused of holding “boozy parties”. Mr Johnson’s press secretary mentioned she didn’t “recognise the reports” of Christmas parties in Downing Street.

‘No rules broken’ – Stratton video

Senior No 10 aide Allegra Stratton was captured laughing a few “cheese and wine” social gathering in a leaked video which emerged on 7 December. She later resigned.

Mr Johnson apologised “unreservedly” for any offence brought on the clip in the Commons, but in addition claimed: “I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken.”

Sunak’s Christmas social gathering denial

Mr Sunak was requested by Labour MP Karl Turner on 7 December if “he or any of his officials or spads attended any of the Downing Street Christmas parties on 27 November or 18 December last year?

The chancellor replied: “No, I did not attend any parties.”

It understood that Mr Sunak – who has been hit with a set penalty (FPN) advantageous – solely ever answered police questions in relation to the July 2020 birthday celebration for PM at No 10.

Partygate: Clip resurfaces of Rishi Sunak denying he attended lockdown parties

‘Work event’

Mr Johnson was grilled once more in the Commons on 12 January – admitting he did attend an occasion in the No 10 backyard in May 2020 organised by his non-public secretary Martin Reynolds.

The PM mentioned: “I believed implicitly that this was a work event, but with hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside.” He additionally referred to the occasion as “people at work, talking about work”.

Mr Johnson additionally recommended that the occasion “could be said technically to fall within the guidance”, and mentioned: “No 10 is a big department with a garden as an extension of the office”.

He later mentioned: “Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules, that the event in question was something – that we were going to do something that wasn’t a work event.”

‘Ambushed by cake’ at birthday celebration

In emerged in January that No 10 workers held a birthday celebration for Mr Johnson on 19 July 2020. No 10 mentioned “staff gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room” and mentioned the PM “was there for less than 10 minutes”.

Tory MP Conor Burns, Northern Ireland minister, mentioned it was not a “premeditated” social gathering – saying: “He was, in a sense, ambushed with a cake.” The Tory minister later claimed he was instructed there was no cake.

It is the “ambushing by cake” social gathering for which Mr Johnson has now been fined. No 10 confirmed his FPN was given for collaborating “in a gathering of two or more people indoors” in the Cabinet Room on 19 July 2020.

‘Farewell speech’

Further stories emerged in January of two leaving drinks parties held at No 10 the evening earlier than Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021. No 10 mentioned James Slack, former comms director, “gave a farewell speech” to thank workers at his leaving occasion.

Furious Labour MP condemns ‘spineless’ ministers for breaching Covid guidelines

‘Didn’t get drunk’ defence?

Robert Peston reported in Ferbruary that Mr Johnson’s authorized defence could be that he went again to “proper” work instantly after the drinks occasions he attended beneath scrutiny by Met police detectives.

The ITV host additionally claimed that “if he can prove that he didn’t get drunk and incapacitated … his legal advisors seem to think there is a chance he can prove said events were simply part of his working day”.

Wearing of fits and ‘fluff’ defences

Among the different defences and excuses supplied, cupboard minister Jacob Rees-Mogg mentioned it was essential to think about whether or not guidelines and rules have been “too hard on people.”

Rees-Mogg additionally dismissed issues over parties as “fluff” and “fundamentally trivial” earlier this month, given the scale of the Ukraine disaster.

Asked a few photograph exhibiting Downing Street workers having a drink on May 15, 2020, deputy PM Dominic Raab mentioned the truth folks have been in fits confirmed it was a business meeting.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss mentioned folks ought to merely “move on” after the prime minister apologised for partygate occasions.

Theresa May tells PM he both did not perceive Covid guidelines or thought he was exempt

‘Do the right thing’

Confirmation that No 10 and Whitehall workers broke Covid legal guidelines – particularly the Health Protection Regulations – has additionally raised the question of hypocrisy as soon as once more.

Matt Hancock, Nadine Dorries and different ministers attacked “selfish” folks for not following the lockdown guidelines to remain at residence throughout the first lockdown months of the pandemic in 2020.

It emerged earlier this year that Mr Johnson had written to a seven-year-old woman in March 2020 after she had cancelled her personal birthday celebration due to Covid guidelines. “Josephine sets a great example to us all,” the PM tweeted at the time.

Announcing £800 fines for anybody attending home parties final January, residence secretary Priti Patel condemned the “small minority that refuse to do the right thing … If you don’t follow rules then the police will enforce them”.

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