Partygate: Timeline of government meetings as more fines are issued

Boris Johnson is again under intense pressure across the Partygate after he and his Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined by the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard announced more than 50 fines to state employees for offenses held in Downing Street and Whitehall during the Covid pandemic.

After first saying in December that he was “sick” at the thought of the No. 10 staff violating rules, Mr Johnson was forced to admit that he had also attended an event on 20 May 2020 .

Since then, several condemning reports have surfaced of further pandemic-era parties allegedly held behind the scenes in Westminster.

The independent looks at all allegations from parties and investigations of assemblies across No. 10, government departments and at the headquarters of the Conservative Party.

May 15, 2020 – No 10 garden collection

A joint study by The Independent and The Guardian revealed that a wine and pizza meeting was held in Rose Garden No. 10 on May 15, 2020 – despite the fact that people from different households were limited to one-on-one meetings outdoors .

A photo later released showed wine and cheese consumed by the Prime Minister, Mrs Johnson, and advisers, including Dominic Cummings. Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also photographed in Downing Street Gardens after delivering today’s covid press conference.

Johnson has previously insisted that “those people were at work and talking about work”. At the time, Covid laws prohibited gatherings of more than two people unless they met specific exceptions, such as being “for work purposes.”

May 20, 2020 – ‘Bring your own splash’

In a blog post, Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser, rejected the idea that the photograph depicted a party on 15 May, insisting that it was common practice for meetings to be held outdoors in the garden.

However, he claimed that a “socially distant drinks” event took place on May 20, 2020. The row exploded when a leaked email sent from the Prime Minister’s private secretary showed that over 100 No. 10 employees were invited to the event, asked about “bringing your own booze”.

Johnson subsequently apologized, confirming that he attended the event for about 25 minutes, but assumed it was “a work event” – an apology that elicited laughter from infidels in the Commons and ridicule from Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer.

This became one of 12 incidents investigated by the Metropolitan Police as part of Operation Hillman investigation, after senior official Sue Gray’s interim report investigated allegations surrounding 16 events.

Boris Johnson says he was ‘at work’ during the No. 10 garden collection

June 18, 2020 – Cabinet Office leaves do

Ms Gray’s preliminary report said a gathering at Whitehall Building 70 was being held to mark the departure of a No. 10 private secretary. It’s one of the events police have investigated.

The event had not previously been reported, however The Telegraph said the official in question is former Home Secretary Hannah Young, who left Downing Street to take on the role of Deputy Consul General in New York.

June 19, 2020 – Boris Johnson’s birthday

Downing Street employees reportedly held an afternoon birthday party for Mr. Johnson at No. 10. His wife, Carrie Johnson, chaired the surprise meeting, which included cake, a song of congratulations on the birthday and picnic food from M&S, ITV News reported.

A No. 10 spokeswoman confirmed that a group of staff had “assembled cards” in the cabinet room “to congratulate the prime minister on his birthday”, adding: “He was there in less than 10 minutes.”

But No. 10 rejected a claim that Mr Johnson’s friends and family were hosting upstairs in his apartment for an event later that evening.

Sir. Sunak is said to have received his fixed fine (PFN) for having attended the birthday party in Cabinet Room No. 10, which is under police investigation.

Boris Johnson was ‘assaulted with a cake’, claims loyal Tory MP

November 13, 2020 – ‘flat party’ in Downing Street

Another claim made by Mr Cummings was a “flat party” in Mr Johnson’s official residence on 13 November 2020 – the same day he left No. 10. Cummings claimed the staff “could hear the music playing loud”.

Asked at PMQs in December if there had been a party on November 13, 2020, Mr Johnson said “no” but added: “I am sure that no matter what happened, the instructions were followed at all times.”

This is another of the incidents that the police are investigating. According to reports at the time, Mr Johnson was giving a closing speech for Lee Cain, his outgoing communications director.

New lockdown laws had once again banned gatherings and leaving the home “without reasonable excuse” at the time. Indoor gatherings were allowed in some circumstances if “required precautions” were taken.

November 27, 2020 – Cleo Watson’s farewell event

Another departure event was reported to have been held two weeks later – as the blockade remained in place – for adviser Cleo Watson, with the prime minister personally giving a speech while drinking alcohol. It was one of the events that Mrs Gray was looking at, but the police chose not to investigate.

December 10, 2020 – The Education Department’s beverage event

Also under scrutiny is a social event allegedly held at the London offices of the Department of Education on 10 December 2020, prompted by then-Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to thank his staff.

The department admitted that a “gathering of colleagues” took place on December 10, with “drinks and snacks brought by those present”, adding: “Looking back, we accept that it would have been better not to have gathered in this way at the specific time “.

The law was amended again, including different levels of restrictions for different areas under Covid rates. London was in Level 2, which banned indoor social gatherings unless specific exceptions were in place.

December 14, 2020 – Shaun Bailey’s Tory Headquarters does

Four days later, with Londoners still subject to Tier 2 restrictions, a party took place at the Conservative Party’s headquarters in Westminster.

A spokesman for the party said the event was “approved” and that disciplinary action was taken against four CCHQ staffers seconded to the then London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey’s campaign.

The mirror the newspaper later published a picture of the assembly – featuring staff and a served buffet – leading to Mr Bailey’s resignation from an official role in the London assembly as chairman of the Police and Crime Committee.

December 15, 2020 – Christmas Quiz

The following day, 10 employees were involved in a festive quiz, with reports suggesting that invitations had been sent out in advance. A photo later released by the Sunday Mirror showed the prime minister flanked by colleagues, with one draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat.

Downing Street said the prime minister had “briefly” attended the quiz – after the photographic evidence surfaced – but insisted it was a virtual event, claiming he did not break any rules. Tier 2 laws remained in force.

December 16, 2020 – The Transport Department’s beverage event

The mirror senior officials reported “splashing and dancing” at yet another event, this one allegedly planned by staff from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ office.

A spokesman for the department said: “Fewer than a dozen employees working in the office had a low-key, socially distant gathering … where food and drink were consumed. We acknowledge that this was inappropriate and apologize for the misjudgment.”

By midnight, London had been moved into stricter Tier 3 restrictions, and indoor gatherings remained banned.

December 17, 2020 – More No 10 leaving drinks

A departure was held for an outgoing Downing Street official. The Telegraph reported that the employee in question was Captain Steve Higham, at the time one of Mr. Johnson’s private secretaries, who advised on defense and national security issues.

The mirrorwho first reported the incident, which was also investigated by police, and said Mr Johnson was only there “for a few minutes”.

December 17, 2020 – Drinking events at the cabinet office

Former Covid Task Force general secretary Kate Josephs said she was “really sorry” for leaving drinks in the cabinet office.

Separate Cabinet Secretary Simon Case removed himself from the investigation into Whitehall parties – to be replaced by Mrs Gray – after reports surfaced of a cabinet meeting. Both incidents have been investigated by police.

The cabinet office said Mr Case did not play a role in the event “but walked through the team’s office on his way to his own”. Both cabinet events are being investigated by police.

December 18, 2020 ‘Christmas party’ that started scandal

Allegations of a Christmas party held in No. 10 on December 18, 2020 were the focus of much anger at the end of last year, when the reports first appeared in The mirror.

The event happened while London remained in strict Tier 3 action, and just a day before Mr Johnson introduced an effective lockdown in the capital and other parts of the country.

Johnson was forced to address the issue in the Commons after the explosive leak of a video showing staff No. 10 holding a fake press conference and making jokes about a Christmas party.

Sobbing Allegra Stratton steps back over No. 10 party video

This led to the resignation of Assistant Secretary of State Allegra Stratton, and the Prime Minister announced Mrs Gray’s inquiry, claiming he was “shocked” by the video. “I unreservedly apologize for the offense it has caused,” Johnson told lawmakers. It is one of the events being investigated by the police.

January 14, 2021 – More No 10 leaving drinks

Police said another of the 12 events under investigation was a rally held in No. 10 to mark the departure of two private secretaries on January 14 last year.

Reports have suggested that the Prime Minister attended the departure event, which was for a senior official in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, according to The Telegraph. The identity of the other official is unknown so far.

April 16, 2021 – Leaves drinks the night before Philips’ funeral

Reports of gatherings at No. 10 appeared in Daily Telegraph claiming that two parties took place on the evening of Friday, April 16, 2021 – when England was under Step 2 Covid restrictions banning indoor mixing.

The events, which were investigated by the police, took place the night before Prince Philips’ funeral, where the queen sat alone at a socially distant ceremony.

According to the newspaper, witnesses said “excessive alcohol” was drunk and participants danced to music. At one point, an employee was allegedly sent to a local Co-op supermarket with a suitcase for bottles of wine.

An event was held for James Slack, the then communications director at No. 10, who now works as deputy chief executive at 6 p.m. The sun newspaper, and the other for Mr. Johnson’s personal photographer.

This article was edited on April 14, 2022. It previously said that a photograph showed wine and cheese consumed by various people, including Matt Hancock, but the picture did not show Mr. Hancock eating or drinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.