BoJo under fire for another COVID party

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been the subject of criticism lately because of recent revelations that he hosted a Christmas party and a holiday quiz game at 10 Downing Street in late 2020 while his nation’s citizens were severely locked down by his orders. It now appears that his administration is springing even more media leaks because yet another allegation has been brought forward. This time the press has revealed that in May of 2020, while London and the rest of the nation were still under the strictest lockdown orders, the PM’s Private Secretary sent out an invitation to more than 100 staffers for a private, “bring your own booze” party to be held in the garden of the PM’s residence and offices. The Prime Minister and his romantic partner were reportedly in attendance, along with more than 40 guests. This has led to more outraged calls from the Labour Party and claims that BoJo is no longer fit to hold office. (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was under fire on Tuesday after it emerged his private secretary had invited over 100 people to a “bring your own booze” party in the garden of Downing Street during the first coronavirus lockdown…

Revelations about a series of parties in Downing Street have garnered popular derision and drawn criticism from opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who said Johnson lacked the moral authority to lead the country.

Johnson and his partner Carrie were among those who gathered with about 40 staff in the garden of Downing Street on May 20, 2020, after the PM’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds sent an invite by email, ITV reported.

This story isn’t simply based on claims from anonymous sources. The press has gotten hold of a copy of the invitation that was sent out and there are allegedly pictures of the event floating around. Johnson hasn’t responded to media requests for comment on this report yet, but up until now he has continued to insist that “all COVID guidance had been followed and no rules had been broken.” He also insisted that there had been “no party.”

From the sound of these internal communications, it doesn’t sound as if that was the case, or at least not entirely. The invitation carries a breezy and cheerful air about it.

“After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening,” Reynolds said in the email.

“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

I suppose if Johnson wants to put up some sort of defense here he could point out that the invitation does specify “socially distanced drinks” and the event was held outdoors, rather than inside where gatherings were supposed to be limited to no more than two people who were not cohabitants of the same household.

But even that might serve as thin gruel for the public. As the local press over there reminds us, at the time of that “bring your own booze” party, London was still under severe restrictions. Schools, pubs and restaurants were all closed. People were blocked from visits to say goodbye to dying relatives in long-term care homes. People were literally being arrested for hosting parties at their homes and the police used drones to surveil popular gathering places, even outdoors.

And while that was going on, the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary was inviting a hundred people to a garden party at Number 10 Downing Street to tip back a few drinks with the boss. I tend to like Boris Johnson and the job he’s done as Prime Minister, but even I can see why people are outraged. This is a completely self-inflicted wound. His decisions to allow these parties at that time and even attend them himself is arguably worse than Gavin Newsom’s wine bar excursions.

So does this mean that BoJo will be stepping down in disgrace? It doesn’t sound like it, or at least not thus far. But his future as the leader of Great Britain doesn’t look nearly as secure as it did a few months ago.