UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to release a long-awaited full report on a senior civilian employee in a ‘partisan’ scandal on Wednesday as new allegations about the culture of lockdown-breaking buzzing surfaced in his office.
A photo published by the Daily Mirror newspaper shows a Downing Street table filled with wine bottles and donuts, and it says that a companion WhatsApp message told staff: “Covid safe bar opening time.”
The Mirror said the November 2020 special incident was not thought to have been investigated by government employee Su Gray or the London Metropolitan Police, which has imposed multiple fines on Johnson himself and other incidents.
The prime minister has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once.
The report was expected on Wednesday, once cleared by Johnson, according to sources.
Johnson will hold weekly sessions of the PM’s questions in the House of Commons at 1100 GMT, followed by a meeting of the 1922 Committee on Backbench Tories.
He is expected to hold a press conference to address Gray’s report, Downing Street sources have previously indicated.
Gray released an initial version of his report in January, but the Met closed the publication altogether as it announced its own investigation.
This has now been completed by imposing fines on 83 people and 126 people, although new evidence has emerged and police are under pressure to reopen the investigation.
The BBC’s Panorama program on Tuesday interviewed people who joined another party that left in November 2020, describing a culture of breaking the rules where dozens of people crowded the room.
The party came just days after the government ordered a second Covid lockdown in England and banned families from reuniting.
The event was on Friday, when the Downing Street Press Office hosted a regular “WTF” (“Wine-Time Friday”) drink, starting at 4:00 pm, according to Panorama.
He was ridiculed when a security guard tried to stop a party in full swing, bystanders told the BBC.
In photos released late Monday by ITV News, Johnson is seen holding a glass and chatting with several people around a table with bottles of wine and food.
The prime minister has faced accusations that he lied in parliament to deny a party that would normally be considered a crime of resignation.
With opinion polls showing deep public disapproval of “Partigate”, conservative MPs need to calculate whether Johnson will have electoral resources or accountability as he heads to two important by-elections next month.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)