Politics

Excuses, excuses: How the federal government tried to wriggle out of Partygate

Partygate has been a front page scandal since December – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to go anytime soon.

Leaked photos, emails and new allegations have been spread across the media in recent weeks, each focusing on a different party allegedly held on Downing Street when the rest of the country was locked.

There are about seven parties that supposedly took place in No.10 between May 2020 and April 2021, and five more parties that were held outside of No.10.

Top officer Sue Gray will be releasing her investigation into these alleged celebrations, which Downing Street accepts, in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the government has specifically cited a number of reasons for telling various parties away.

Here’s a breakdown of the most eyebrow-raising excuses:

Excuses for April 16, 2021

It was a “farewell speech”

That excuse followed Friday’s reports of two farewell parties held the night before Prince Philip’s funeral on April 16, 2021 at No. 10 took place.

Regarding leaving James Slack, former Johnson Communications Director, No.10 said, “On this person’s last day, he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for a job well done, both those in the office and the ones who needed it be on one screen for those who work from home. “

Business Insider has indicated that Slack also quit a month before leaving the public sector.

The Queen sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday, April 17, 2021.

Refusal to acknowledge it was a party

Downing Street has apologized to Buckingham Palace after staff partied the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral when the country was in state mourning.

However, No. 10 has refused to confirm or deny what was happening behind the doors of Downing Street at the time.

Johnson’s deputy spokesman simply said, “It is deeply unfortunate that this happened at a time of state mourning and No10 apologized to the palace.”

When asked why it was an apology from Downing Street and not Johnson, the spokesman said, “Again the Prime Minister said earlier that there were misjudgments and it is right that people should apologize, as the Prime Minister did at the beginning did this week. “

Excuses for May 20th, 2020

Truss claimed “he apologized” so everyone should “move on”

Secretary of State Liz Truss told ITV News on Friday that people should examine the recovery from Brexit and Covid on Johnson’s true legacy.

Addressing Partygate in general, she said, “The Prime Minister apologized on Wednesday. He made it very clear that mistakes were made … I think we have to move on now … “

“I support him 100% so that he can continue his work.”

In an interview with British broadcasters, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it was time to “move on” after Boris Johnson apologized for attending an event in Garden 10 in May 2020. pic.twitter.com/NLexOL9Su2

– Channel 4 News (@ Channel4News) January 14, 2022

The rules were “too difficult” to follow

Courtesy of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the House of Commons, he appeared on Thursday in defense of the party on May 20, 2020.

Rees Mogg claimed, “We have to take into account that this is going to an investigation and we are investigating what happened to Covid, whether all of these regulations were proportionate, or whether it was too harsh for people.”

Johnson did not “see” or “receive” the email

Although the beverage party invitation was sent out by Johnson’s Chief Private Secretary Martin Reynolds on May 20, 2020 – and the event itself was held in the Prime Minister’s back garden – Johnson allegedly failed to see the email, which made it clear this was a social event .

Downing Street claimed on Wednesday that Johnson had not received the email either and had not instructed Reynolds to send the invitation, which specifically stated, “It would be nice to make the most of the fine weather and have a few socially distant drinks in the No to drink .10 garden tonight. “

Johnson defends himself in the House of Commons on Wednesday

House of Commons via PA cables / PA images

Johnson “didn’t know it was a party”

The Prime Minister publicly apologized at the start of the PMQs on Wednesday.

He said, “When I went to this garden just after six on May 20, 2020 to thank groups of staff before going back to my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I implicitly believed that this was a working event was. “

Garden is an “extension of the office”

He also claimed, “No. 10 is a large department with a garden as an extension of the office, which is constantly used due to the role of fresh air in containing the virus. “

Technically “within the rules”

The Prime Minister also evaded any admission that this meeting of between 30 and 40 Downing Street employees – including alcohol – was outside the rules.

He said, “I should have realized that even if technically it could be said that it was under the guidelines, there are millions and millions of people who just wouldn’t see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who have been forbidden to meet loved ones indoors or outdoors, and to them and this house I sincerely apologize. “

Time to wait for Sue Gray’s conclusions

The Prime Minister and his senior ministers have fought off much criticism by postponing Gray’s investigation.

On Wednesday, Johnson said, “All I ask is that Sue Gray conclude her investigation on this day and several other days so that the full facts can be established.”

This phrase has been repeated by all of his Tory allies, adding to the pressure that surrounds their investigation.

Excuses for the Christmas party

News of a potential December 18, 2020 Christmas party broke last month, and was soon followed by a video of one of the Prime Minister’s then-assistants laughing at the socializing during the lockdown.

In a speech on December 8, 2021, Johnson said he shared the public’s anger and claimed he was “angry” to see this clip.

He said: “I apologize wholeheartedly for the insult it has caused across the country and I apologize for the impression it makes.”

The Prime Minister then claimed he had been “repeatedly reassured” that there was “no party”.

No rules were broken

In the same speech, Johnson claimed that No. 10 “had no Covid rules broken” throughout the pandemic.

Johnson also promised that “there will be disciplinary action for all concerned” as soon as an investigation into the alleged Christmas party has taken place.

Excuses for other 2020 parties

Raab thinks suits mean it wasn’t a party

Raab justified a photo showing, on May 15, 2020, No. 10 “a drink after closing formal business” of Downing Street employees, claiming “the staff would have been in grueling conditions”.

He also said that it was clearly a business meeting as everyone in attendance was wearing a suit.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab stood at number 10 throughout the party gateDeputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab stood at number 10 throughout the party gate

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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