No 10 staff told to ‘just be quieter’ as they partied during PM lockdown press conference

Sue Gray report: Staff warned to be 'courteous with sound'

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The long-awaited report included an inquiry on a gathering held at 10 Downing Street on May 20, 2020 at which time Britons were being asked to stay home and avoid assembling in groups larger than six people. The extracts saw Number 10 staff being explicitly advised “to just be quieter” as they partied as Boris Johnson addressed the UK on the need to respect social distancing rules. Sky News Political correspondent Sam Coates pointed out “this was the height of the pandemic” and “it was the point the Government was telling everybody to stay at home.”

Showing the report extracts, Mr Coates said: “Now, what’s interesting about the report is the enormous details under the section.

“We have a series of stuff, including email correspondence that shows the sheer scale of a planning that went into this

He went through some emails exchanged between Number 10 officials on May 13, 2020 with the intent to organise the gathering that would take place a few days later in the garden of 10 Downing Street.

The emails saw Downing Street officials contacting the Internal Events team to book the garden for the following week.

Following that email, sent on May 14, 2020, a member of the Internal Event team is seen replying agreeing with the gathering plan, but explicitly advising No.10 staff to “just be courteous with sound from 4-6pm”.

The warning came after the member of the Internal Event team reminded that that day and at that time the Prime Minister would be conducting his daily lockdown press conference a few rooms away.

Mr Coates said: “This was the height of the pandemic.

“This was the point the Government was telling everybody to stay at home.

“But here they are, saying to just be a little bit quieter during the press conference”.

In another email, an unnamed official wrote: “It’s meant to be nice weather next week so shall we try to do a socially distanced drinks in the garden on Wednesday or Thursday?”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner described the content of the report as “indefensible”, after defining Mr Johnson’s Downing Street as “rotten from the very top”.

While speaking in the House of Commons, she added: “He set the culture.

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“It happened on his watch.

“It’s on him”.

Besides Ms Rayner, SNP leader Ian Blackford also commented on the report and reiterated his call for the Prime Minister to resign for “orchestrating” the scenes in No.10.

Mr Blackford defined the report as “damning” and added “the Prime Minister must bear responsibility for the culture”.

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