LONDON – Boris Johnson’s staff were invited to an aperitif in the garden at No.10 Downing Street during a nationwide COVID lockdown, according to a leaked email.
In an email obtained by ITV News, more than 100 Downing Street staff were urged to ‘make the most of the good weather and have a social distancing drink in Garden No.10’ on May 20, 2020.
The message went on to say, “Please join us from 6pm and bring your own alcohol!”
The email was sent by Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s top private secretary who heads the prime minister’s office, as the rest of the country has been barred from meeting more than one other person outside.
Sue Gray, a senior official, is investigating a series of allegations that parties were detained at No.10 and other departments in the spring of 2020 and in December of that year.
On another occasion, May 15, Johnson and his wife were pictured sitting with Staff No.10, including Reynolds, on the patio with a bottle of wine and cheese. Downing Street insisted it was a business meeting.
The Prime Minister has faced sustained questions about staff parties since the Mirror reported that officials were drinking wine and exchanging gifts via a Secret Santa on December 18, 2020.
Johnson initially placed Civil Service Chief Simon Case in charge of investigating the allegations, but Case was forced to recuse himself after several officials told POLITICO he attended Christmas drinks in his office in 2020.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson confirmed earlier that Gray would review the May 20 rally as part of his investigation, but said he could not comment further while the process was underway.