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Johnson ‘running scared,’ Labour charges after PM skips questions on BYOB Downing Street party

LABOUR accused Boris Johnson of lying and running scared today after the PM failed to attend the Commons to answer questions about a Downing Street drinks party.

Mr Johnson left it to Paymaster General Michael Ellis to answer an urgent question about the “bring your own booze party” in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020.

And the PM earlier dodged questions about whether he himself attended the event, to which senior civil servant Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 Downing Street employees.

At the time the country was under tough lockdown conditions which included the banning of groups from meeting socially outdoors.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner demanded to know whether Mr Johnson had attended the gathering, what the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who lives and works next door, knew about it and whether any other minister was present.

She said: “It is disappointing that the Prime Minister, of whom I asked this question, is not here today despite not having any official engagements.

“There is no need for an investigation into the simple and central question today, Mr Speaker. 

“Did the Prime Minister attend the event in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020?
 
“If the Prime Minister was there, he certainly knew. The invitation was sent to a hundred staff, many of them his own most senior political appointees.”
 
SNP Commons leader Ian Blackford also insisted on knowing if senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is conducting the investigation, had been invited to the gathering and whether she had attended.

In response Mr Ellis told the House that the investigation would be completed as swiftly as possible.

Earlier, Mr Johnson said that all matters around alleged lockdown breaches would form part of the ongoing investigation.

Labour released a list of statements in the Commons that it argued showed the PM had repeatedly lied to the House.

They include repeated claims from Mr Johnson that “guidelines were observed” in No 10.

The “bring your own booze” garden party is the latest in a dozen alleged parties and gatherings in 2020 held by top government figures which appear to break Covid rules imposed on the rest of the country.

Others include a cabinet office “Christmas party” on December 17 and another in Downing Street on December 18.

 

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