Boris Johnson: BBC News’ Ros Atkins analyses May 20th party
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The BBC host Ros Atkins has cast his mind back to the days of the first national lockdown in spring 2020 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson allegedly attended a garden party in No 10 Downing Street with hundreds of employees at a time when people in Britain were barred from mingling outside their own home. Mr Atkins described the different procedures that led to Mr Johnson’s recent fiasco which only came to light 600 days later on January 10, 2022. He used different clips and social media statements from that time to shed light on the gravity of the allegations, joking that he may have been oblivious to the existing garden party and discovered the guests there by accident.
He joked: “It is possible Mister Johnson ventured into his garden and to his surprise found 30 people there.
“We don’t know but the Chair of the Committee on standards in public life received enough party allegations to draw this conclusion.”
Lord Evans, who is the Chair Committee on Standards in Public Life, blasted how much leeway politicians think to possess
He said: “There’s at least a carelessness amongst people in government over standards issues and possibly more than that!”
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Mr Atkins then picked up on a Tweet by the Metropolitan Police posted on the day when the party supposedly took place, highlighting how strongly they were reminding the public of adhering to the rules and that rubbing shoulders was only allowed with “one other person” from a different household.
But the garden party, which has sparked fury in the UK and a barrage of derision worldwide, is understood to have welcomed at least 100 people.
He said: [A Scotland Yard spokesperson] said it’s ‘aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged beached of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on May 20, 2020’.
“The Met is also presumably aware of it with its own tweet on the same day as the party [saying] ‘You can relax, have a picnic, exercise or play sport, as long as you are: On your own. With people you live with. Just you and one other person’.”
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Mr Atkins questioned whether the Metropolitan Police is taking things further “this time” after deciding to drop the investigations into the 2020 Christmas party last month.
He said: “Now in December the Met opted against further investigation of the original party allegations.
“We will see if it draws the same conclusions this time and while Sue Gray, the police, and others consider the legal dimension to this, there’s a human dimension too.”
To defend himself against accusations about a supposed Christmas party a year earlier, Mr Johnson tried to clear his name in Parliament at the beginning of last month, saying: “I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who are setting the rules have not been following the rules!”
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Pictures have been leaked appearing to show him in the company of his then partner Carry and up to 17 staff in the Downing Street garden, those words are now taking on a whole new meaning and Jean Adams, whose father died of COVID-19 and was buried on that same day, said that the story “just beggars belief”.
Just when the dust of the first Christmas party had started to settle a bit and Mr Johnson’s position was on steadier ground, not least with some of his Tories, the shock revelation could be the final nail in his coffin.
A number of Tory MPs, as illustrated by Sky News Beth Rigby, vented their anger at their Conservative Leader stressing that Mr Johnson and the party, in general, have hit rock bottom.
One senior Tory was quoted as saying: “It’s as bad as it gets” while another said: “Mood terrible-even those who profess loyalty to him are in despair”.
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