Boris Johnson's lockdown birthday

25 January 2022

5:22 AM

25 January 2022

5:22 AM

‘Wait for Sue Gray’ has been the mantra on every ministers’ lips these past few weeks. But with just days to go before the senior civil servant is due to deliver her findings on ‘partygate’ how much longer can that line continue to hold? For this evening ITV have dropped yet another bombshell: Boris Johnson had a birthday party during lockdown in June 2020 despite rules forbidding social gatherings indoors.

Up to 30 staff celebrated in the cabinet room where his wife surprised him with a cake, with Lulu Lytle — the designer who was doing up the Prime Minister’s flat at the time — among those who came down to the party. Turns out that redecoration might have cost Johnson a whole lot more than £112,000…

Josephine sets a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing.

Together we can beat this. In the meantime let’s all wish her happy birthday (twice) whilst washing our hands. #BeLikeJosephine #StayHomeSaveLives

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 21, 2020

Just a week before the party, the PM told the country ‘meeting inside other people’s homes — that remains against the law.’ Millions rearranged their birthday that summer — including, er, the Queen with whom Johnson will presumably enjoy yet another awkward meeting soon. When confronted, Downing Street admitted the party this afternoon, saying:

A group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the Prime Minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than ten minutes.

ITV report that later on that same night, family friends of the Johnsons partied upstairs in the PM’s flat. This is denied by the No. 10 team who say: ‘This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.’

Does this mean Sue Gray will have to expand her inquiry further? Steerpike wonders if this means yet more delays, as Johnson scrabbles around to save his sinking premiership.

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