Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed ‘nobody told him’ the Downing Street garden party broke any Covid-19 rules – but a past tweet might suggest otherwise.
The government is currently gripped by ‘Partygate’, with the Conservatives accused of flouting lockdown restrictions and hosting several parties, including a ‘business meeting with cheese and wine’, a Christmas quiz chaired by the PM and a ‘bring your own booze’ garden bash.
During his apology to the house, in which he acknowledged the public’s anger after not being able to see family and friends while politicians hung out, he said he believed the party was a ‘work event’, and he’s since reiterated how he wasn’t aware the party was in breach of any rules.
Today, January 18, Johnson said he ‘humbly apologises’ to the public for ‘misjudgements’ concerning parties during lockdown.
‘I’m saying categorically that nobody told me, nobody said this was something that was against the rules, doing something that wasn’t a work event because frankly, I can’t imagine why it would have gone ahead, or it would have been allowed to go ahead if it was against the rules,’ the prime minister, responsible for announcing Covid-19 rules the country, said.
‘My memory is going out into the garden for about 25 minutes, which I implicitly thought was a work event, and talking to staff, thanking staff. I then went back to my office and continued my work. I carry full responsibility for what took place, nobody said to me, ‘This is an event that’s against the rules, in breach of what we’re asking everybody else to do’.’
A tweet from March 2020 has since resurfaced, featuring a letter Johnson penned to a seven-year-old girl named Josephine, who wrote to him about her birthday party being cancelled. ‘I think mummy and daddy might have to cancel my party but I don’t mind because I want everybody to be ok,’ she wrote.
Johnson shared his response, writing, ‘Josephine sets a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing. Together we can beat this. In the meantime let’s all wish her happy birthday (twice) whilst washing our hands. #BeLikeJosephine #StayHomeSaveLives.’
During that time, extensive restrictions were still in place across the UK. Just two months later, shortly before the party took place, Johnson said ‘it would be madness now to throw away’ the achievement of the public’s sacrifice ‘by allowing a second spike… we must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives.’
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