Johnson faces Tory calls to quit over ‘bring your own booze’ event in lockdown



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oris Johnson faced calls to quit from senior Tories after he apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10 during England’s first lockdown.

The Prime Minister insisted he believed it had been a “work event” and Downing Street said he had never been sent an email encouraging staff to bring a bottle and “make the most of the lovely weather”.

But in a sign of mounting Tory anger, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross called for him to quit while another MP branded the Prime Minister a “dead man walking”.

In the Commons Mr Johnson said that he attended the May 20 2020 gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff” but “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.

The Prime Minister acknowledged public anger, saying: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”

He said an inquiry was examining the situation but accepted “there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility”.

Downing Street refused to say whether his then fiancee Carrie Symonds had attended the gathering, if Mr Johnson had noticed tables laden with food and drink or if he had brought a bottle of his own into the garden.

All such questions were a matter for senior official Sue Gray’s inquiry, the Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters.

But she insisted Mr Johnson had not been sent the invitation email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds encouraging colleagues to “bring your own booze” to the garden.

At just after 6pm on the day of the event, the time the invitation had specified for people to gather to “make the most of the lovely weather”, Mr Johnson went into the garden to thank staff for their efforts and stayed for 25 minutes.



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