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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Lizzy Buchan

All the Partygate bashes Boris Johnson attended - and the Covid rules at the time

Boris Johnson has admitted to attending five lockdown bashes in a lengthy defence against claims he misled Parliament over Partygate.

In a 52-page legal dossier, the former Prime Minister scrambled to shake off criticism of his conduct ahead of an explosive grilling by MPs on Wednesday about what he knew about boozing in No10 during the pandemic.

He admitted to attending five events, including a notorious BYOB garden party and a surprise birthday party, but insisted he thought the events were within the rules.

Mr Johnson also mounted a defence of a Christmas bash in December 2020 that he didn't attend, where officials knocked back glasses of wine and swapped Secret Santa presents.

There were a string of other parties that incurred police fines and were probed by Whitehall inquisitor Sue Gray in her damning report.

But these are parties at the heart of the Privileges Committee inquiry into whether he misled MPs.

Here's what happened at these bashes and what the rules were at the time.

Boris Johnson is facing a grilling over what he told MPs about lockdown parties in No10 (REX/Shutterstock)

Boris Johnson DID attend

May 20 2020: BYOB garden party at Downing Street

Boris Johnson and top official Martin Reynolds, who organised the BYOB bash (Getty Images)

The PM’s top aide Martin Reynolds invited 100 No10 staff to “make the most of the lovely weather" and “bring your own booze" in a leaked email. Between 30 and 40 people attended, enjoying drinks and pizza.

Mr Johnson admitted to spending 25 minutes at the bash, but notoriously claimed he thought it was a work event. Officials were fined for attending this gathering.

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Rules at the time: England was under national lockdown, with non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants shut, and indoor mixing banned. The stay at home order was eased on May 13 and people were allowed to meet one other person in an outdoor public space - but with social distancing. Visits to friends or family's gardens were forbidden.

June 19 2020: Boris Johnson's birthday

Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case pictured at the then-PM's impromptu birthday bash (PA)

Staff gathered in the Cabinet Room for a surprise birthday celebration for the Prime Minister organised by his wife Carrie.

Pictures show a spread of picnic food on the table, with Mr Johnson raising a can of Estrella beer.

He moaned in the dossier that there was no cake and no one sang Happy Birthday - as was reported at the time. Mr and Mrs Johnson, were fined by police over this event, as well as Rishi Sunak.

Rules at the time: 'Rule of six' gatherings were allowed outside but indoor meetings were still banned - except for work purposes. Non-essential shops were allowed to open from June 15 but pubs, restaurants, beauty salons and much more remained closed. Social distancing rules were still in place.

November 13 2020: Leaving bash for spin doctor

Boris Johnson at a gathering in Downing Street in November 2020, when restrictions were in place (PA)

Boris Johnson gave a leaving speech for spin chief Lee Cain, who left No10 alongside Dominic Cummings.

There are pictures of this event, with Mr Johnson raising a glass. Fines were issued to officials for this event.

Rules at the time: The second national lockdown was in place. People were told to work from home if they could. Indoor gatherings were banned unless necessary for work purposes. Pubs, bars and restaurants were closed except for takeaway. Social distancing was in place.

November 27 2020: Leaving do for No10 aide

No10 aide Cleo Watson (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Around 40 to 50 people crammed into a room in No10 for a leaving do for top aide Cleo Watson.

Mr Johnson made a short off-the-cuff speech. Police didn't look at this event.

Rules at the time: The second national lockdown was in place. People were told to work from home if they could. Indoor gatherings were banned unless necessary for work purposes. Pubs, bars and restaurants were closed except for takeaway. Social distancing was in place.

January 14 2021: Prosecco-fuelled leaving drinks

Boris Johnson gave a speech at a prosecco-fuelled leaving do (PA)

A boozy gathering was held in No10 to mark the departure of two officials, where guests drank prosecco. Mr Johnson made a short speech at 6pm and was pictured at the event.

He left after 10 minutes but the bash went on after 11pm. Fines were issued for this event.

Rules at the time: England was in its third national lockdown. People were told to stay at home except for a small number of exceptions, including work if they couldn't reasonably do so from home. Social gatherings indoors were banned.

Boris Johnson DIDN'T attend

18 December 2020: The No10 Christmas party.

Officials enjoyed wine and cheese at the bash, which included a Secret Santa, speeches and an awards do. Between 25 and 40 people attended the event - the day before Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas.

No10 exit logs show some people left after midnight and Sue Gray's report noted that there were staff drinking heavily and cleaners found wine sprayed on the wall the next day. Boris Johnson was not at this event but fines were issued to staff.

Rules at the time: London was under Tier 3 lockdown rules which meant indoor mixing was banned outside your household or bubble. Government guidance explicitly said no Christmas parties or lunches. Social distancing rules were in place.

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