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Lockdown parties and events: 20 gatherings we know about so far | Gray report

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It can be easy to lose track of alleged major lockdown parties, leaving backs, ‘wine Fridays’ and business meetings under investigation by Sue Gray and the Metropolitan Police. Here’s a full overview of who’s reviewing what, and general details of all the complaints we know about.

Events under police investigation

1) May 20, 2020: ‘BYOB’ in garden no. 10

One of the most explosive revelations, after a leaked email was published to No 10 staff inviting them during the first lockdown to ‘enjoy the good weather’ and have a drink in the garden, adding ‘BYOB’ – ‘bring your own alcohol.’ The email was sent by Johnson’s principal private secretary, senior civil servant Martin Reynolds. The PM and his wife Carrie attended for a time. apologized but insisted he had only realized in retrospect that it might have been a social gathering.

2) June 18, 2020: Gathering of the Cabinet Office for the departure of the civil servant

This is a claim that has not yet seen the light of day. Gray’s report describes it only as “a gathering at the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, on the departure of a Private Secretary No. 10”. No indication if Johnson was present.

3) June 19, 2020: PM’s surprise birthday

The latest public revelation. Downing Street agreed that around 30 people, including interior designer Lulu Lytle, who is not on staff but was renovating Johnson’s flat, gathered to mark Johnson’s birthday in the cabinet room . No 10 says Johnson was there less than 10 minutes. There was, it seems, a birthday cake, carols and picnic food from Marks & Spencer. Northern Ireland Minister Conor Burns later memorably defended Johnson, saying the Prime Minister had been “ambushed with a cake”.

4) November 13, 2020: starting event #10

On the day Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings was removed from his post, there was mention of a ‘rally at 10 Downing Street to mark the departure of a special adviser’. As Cummings left abruptly, this appears to refer to the departure on the same day of Lee Cain, then Johnson’s communications manager. It is unclear if Johnson was present.

5) November 13, 2020: Gathering at Johnson’s apartment

Sources reported that on the day Cummings left, there was loud music and the sounds of a party coming from apartment No. 11 occupied by Johnson and his wife Carrie, a known enemy of Cummings. Downing Street denied any breaches of the rules, and it is unclear who was there.

6) December 17, 2020: the Christmas quiz

An alleged social event took place in the office of Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – who was originally set to lead the Gray report but quit after the claim about his own office. The invite billed it as a ‘Christmas party’ but government insiders said it was a virtual quiz and Case only walked through the event on his way to his office . Johnson did not attend

7) 17 December 2020: Cabinet Office departure event for senior officials

Kate Josephs, the former head of the Covid task force, has apologized for attending a drink to mark her departure from public service on the same day. She is now chief executive of Sheffield City Council, where her future is uncertain.

8) December 17, 2020: Start Event #10

Another gathering previously unknown in the report. It only says: ‘A gathering at No 10 Downing Street on the departure of an official from No 10’. We do not know who it was or who was present.

9) December 18, 2020: No. 10 Christmas party

According to witnesses, dozens of employees gathered for a Christmas party, with cheese and wine being handed out, a mock awards ceremony and secret Santa gifts being exchanged. The event retrospectively propelled party coverage after a video of Allegra Stratton, then the Prime Minister’s press secretary, surfaced jokingly a few days later.

10) January 14, 2021: starting event #10 for officials

Yet another claim emerging for the first time in Gray’s report. It is described as: “A gathering at No 10 Downing Street as two No 10 private secretaries departed.” It is unconfirmed who they are or who attended.

11) April 16, 2021: Downing Street Garden/First Leaving Party

One of the most damaging claims – that on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, where the Queen sat alone, two departure events took place at No 10. The first, and apparently less rowdy, was for James Slack, who was the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson under Theresa May and Johnson, before becoming Johnson’s communications director. Johnson was at Checkers that night.

12) April 16, 2021: Downing Street Garden/Second Leaving Party

The second of the events, for a government photographer, reportedly started in the basement, with music played by an official. It is believed to be the event for which an official brought wine in a suitcase from a nearby supermarket. The two events then combined in the garden, where a reveler sat down and broke the swing set for Johnson’s infant son, Wilfred.

Events in the Gray report but not part of the police investigations

13) May 15, 2020: gathering in garden no. 10

It was the event captured in a now famous photo shown to the Guardian, depicting a series of groups on the terrace and No 10 lawn, including the Johnsons, Cummings and Reynolds, seated at a table with wine and a tray of cheeses. Gray’s report refers only to “a photograph showing a number of groups in the garden of 10 Downing Street”, possibly indicating that she did not hear from witnesses about it. Johnson insisted he believed it was a work event.

14) 27 November 2020: No 10 departure do

For helper #10 Cleo Watson. Johnson is known to have attended the event, noticing how packed the room was before giving a short speech and leaving.

15) December 10, 2020: Ministry of Education Christmas event

Gavin Williamson, then education secretary, hosted drinks in his department for staff. The department’s top official, Susan Acland-Hood, said she attended the “work-related” meeting in which people gathered in the canteen for Williamson to “say a few words.”

16) December 15, 2020: No 10 Christmas quiz

Johnson hosted the Christmas Quiz in Downing Street and was pictured on a screen reading questions flanked by staff members who wore tinsel and Santa hats. Some staff joined virtually, but sources said others crowded around the desks.

Events not included in the report

17) November 25, 2020: Treasure ‘impromptu drinks’

The Treasury has defended officials hosting an ‘impromptu’ party to celebrate Rishi Sunak’s fall spending review during the lockdown. A spokesperson said a “small number” of employees celebrated around their desks.

18) Before Christmas 2020: Defense Advisor Departure Event

The Mirror alleged that the Prime Minister gave a speech at a leaving event for his then defense adviser, Captain Steve Higham, in the run up to Christmas.

19) December 14, 2020: CCHQ Christmas Party for Shaun Bailey

Photo shows an event organized by Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey’s campaign took place at the Conservative campaign headquarters, complete with a buffet. Police are investigating the gathering.

20) December 16, 2020: Meeting of the Ministry of Transport

The Mirror said staff of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps held a Christmas party where nearly a dozen staff were ‘drinking and dancing’ at an office in Whitehall.

Lockdown parties and events: 20 gatherings we know about so far | Gray report

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