Partygate: New photos reveal Johnson's lies
Johnson's leadership is driven further in a crisis.
Boris Johnson is facing accusations that he may have lied to MPs after photos of him surfaced, showing the British PM toasting a senior aide at Downing Street at a leaving drinks event during a Covid-19 lockdown.
The Met police later on penalized staffers for attending an event during the lockdown on 13 November 2020. However, they did not penalize Johnson, whose images clearly exposed him raising his glass while he was surrounded by bottles of alcohol.
The Guardian has reported that the police were handed details of the event along with knowledge of Johnson's attendance, and nonetheless the police chose not to penalize the prime minister, which raises questions about Scotland Yard's Partygate investigation.
Sources close to the event revealed that Johnson was the instigator for Lee Cain, who is the director of communications, and he poured the drinks for the staff.
The leaving party came during a time when there was intense drama over the resignation of Dominic Cummings, Johnson's former chief advisor, which was a particularly awkward time to celebrate.
On Monday, London was forced to admit it has instigated a meeting between Sue Gray and Johnson before the publication of the report. Johnson suggested to Gray that the report shouldn't be published, questioning where there was "much point now that it's all out there."
Cain's leaving drinks event along with the party at Johnson's flat were the two events that brought public scrutiny to Johnson and the Met's decision not to fine the PM. A Whitehall source said Johnson had “chucked them under a bus” by his denial of knowledge about the event.
A Number 10 spokesperson suggested police had access to the photos. “The Cabinet Office and the Met police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs,” they said. “The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the prime minister will address parliament in full.”
Partygate takes a new turn with evidence from former chief advisor
Boris Johnson will face criticism for the Partygate photos that will soon contradict his previous claims, Dominic Cummings, said. The former aid, who resigned in November 2020, has stated that witnesses have evidence that the PM has breached more lockdown rules than previously thought.
He claims that the witnesses have evidence of breaches in Downing Street and that such evidence will provide grounds for further breach revelations.
Johnson had repeatedly denied before the house that he or his staff had breached the strict lockdown his government had put in place, though fines issued last month have proven his claims to be false. He did apologize for the scandal but remained adamant he never knowingly misled parliament and vowed to press on with other issues, including the war in Ukraine.
The premier had previously stressed that accepting a fine did not mean he broke the law. His allies also revealed that he would not resign were he to be fined.
“Lots of junior people and particularly women – some of whom were told to go to certain events … and assured that the PM’s PPS [principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds] had a process to ensure lawfulness – have been fined, sometimes multiple times, while those who organized and attended the same events including the PM have been let off,” said Cummings.