Downing Street apologises to Queen over lockdown parties


The government is facing mounting pressure over several events that are alleged to have been held during lockdowns. Here is what we know about them and the restrictions in place at the time:

10 May 2020

Boris Johnson announced a plan to take the “first careful steps” out of the lockdown that began in March 2020. But he said people should continue to “obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them”.

Legal restrictions at the time said you could not leave your house without a reasonable excuse and government guidance was that you could meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor setting while exercising.

15 May 2020

A photo from May 2020 showed the prime minister and his staff with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard in the Downing Street garden. When asked about it, Boris Johnson said, “those people were at work talking about work”.

20 May 2020

About 100 people were invited by email to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” on behalf of the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds.

Witnesses told the BBC the PM and his wife were among about 30 people who attended.

Boris Johnson has confirmed he attended the event, saying he was there for 25 minutes and “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.

17 July 2020

Boris Johnson announced plans for a “significant return to normality” in England by Christmas “through targeted, local action” instead of national lockdowns.

But he added that the timetable relied on “every one of us staying alert and acting responsibly”.

5 November 2020

With cases of coronavirus rising again, the prime minister told people in England that “we are once again asking you to stay at home” as a new national lockdown began.

He said people should only leave their homes “for work if you can’t work from home, for education, and for essential activities and emergencies”. Indoor gatherings with other households were banned, unless they were for work purposes.

13 November 2020

Sources told the BBC that Downing Street staff members attended a gathering with Carrie Johnson in the flat where she and the prime minister live. A spokesman for Mrs Johnson denies the party took place.

27 November 2020

A leaving event was held for No 10 aide, Cleo Watson, where people were drinking, and Mr Johnson made a speech, according to sources.

2 December 2020

The second national lockdown ended after four weeks but Boris Johnson replaced those restrictions with “tough tiers to keep this virus down”.

London was placed in tier two, which banned two or more people from different households from meeting indoors, unless “reasonably necessary” for work purposes.

10 December 2020

The Department for Education has confirmed it had an office gathering to thank staff for their work during the pandemic. It says drinks and snacks were brought by those who attended and no outside guests or support staff were invited.

14 December 2020

The Conservative Party has admitted that an “unauthorised gathering” took place at its HQ in Westminster. It was held by the team of the party’s London-mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, who has since stepped down as chair of the London Assembly police and crime committee. The Metropolitan Police is to speak to two people who attended the party.

Image caption The gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters was described as ‘raucous’

Image copyright by Daily Mirror

15 December 2020

Multiple sources have told the BBC there was a Christmas quiz for No 10 staff last year. A photo – published by the Sunday Mirror – showed Boris Johnson taking part and sitting between two colleagues in No 10. Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Johnson was pictured in the No 10 library under a portrait of Margaret Thatcher

Image caption Mr Johnson was pictured in the No 10 library under a portrait of Margaret Thatcher

Image copyright by Sunday Mirror

16 December 2020

London moved into the highest tier of restrictions and Matt Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, said it was important “everyone is cautious” ahead of the festive period.

The Department for Transport apologised after confirming reports of a party in its offices that day, calling it “inappropriate” and an “error of judgment” by staff.

18 December 2020

Downing Street originally denied a report by the Daily Mirror that a party took place in Downing Street.

However, a video obtained by ITV News showed the prime minister’s then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, joking about reports of an event, saying: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”

12 April 2021

Lockdown restrictions were eased in England, with pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen with outdoor service only.

However, working from home continued to be recommended and socialising indoors with people from other households was not allowed. Meeting others outdoors was limited to groups of six people or two households.

16 April 2021

Two parties were held by Downing Street staff at No 10, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

One of the events was a leaving party for the PM’s then director of communications James Slack, who has apologised for the event and acknowledged it “should not have happened at the time that it did”.

Boris Johnson was not at either party.

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Here is what we know about them and the restrictions in place at the time:”,”timeline__element_2-header”:””,”timeline__element_2-date”:”10 May 2020″,”text_3-value”:”Boris Johnson announced a plan to take the “first careful steps" out of the lockdown that began in March 2020. But he said people should continue to "obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them”.”,”text_4-value”:”Legal restrictions at the time said you could not leave your house without a reasonable excuse and government guidance was that you could meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor setting while exercising.”,”timeline__element_5-header”:””,”timeline__element_5-date”:”15 May 2020″,”text_6-value”:”A photo from May 2020 showed the prime minister and his staff with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard in the Downing Street garden. When asked about it, Boris Johnson said, “those people were at work talking about work”.”,”timeline__element_7-header”:””,”timeline__element_7-date”:”20 May 2020″,”text_8-value”:”About 100 people were invited by email to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” on behalf of the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds.”,”text_9-value”:”Witnesses told the BBC the PM and his wife were among about 30 people who attended.”,”text_10-value”:”Boris Johnson has confirmed he attended the event, saying he was there for 25 minutes and “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.”,”timeline__element_11-header”:””,”timeline__element_11-date”:”17 July 2020″,”text_12-value”:”Boris Johnson announced plans for a “significant return to normality" in England by Christmas "through targeted, local action” instead of national lockdowns.”,”text_13-value”:”But he added that the timetable relied on “every one of us staying alert and acting responsibly”.”,”timeline__element_14-header”:””,”timeline__element_14-date”:”5 November 2020″,”text_15-value”:”With cases of coronavirus rising again, the prime minister told people in England that “we are once again asking you to stay at home” as a new national lockdown began.”,”text_16-value”:”He said people should only leave their homes “for work if you can’t work from home, for education, and for essential activities and emergencies”. Indoor gatherings with other households were banned, unless they were for work purposes.”,”timeline__element_17-header”:””,”timeline__element_17-date”:”13 November 2020″,”text_18-value”:”Sources told the BBC that Downing Street staff members attended a gathering with Carrie Johnson in the flat where she and the prime minister live. A spokesman for Mrs Johnson denies the party took place.”,”timeline__element_19-header”:””,”timeline__element_19-date”:”27 November 2020″,”text_20-value”:”A leaving event was held for No 10 aide, Cleo Watson, where people were drinking, and Mr Johnson made a speech, according to sources.”,”timeline__element_21-header”:””,”timeline__element_21-date”:”2 December 2020″,”text_22-value”:”The second national lockdown ended after four weeks but Boris Johnson replaced those restrictions with “tough tiers to keep this virus down”.”,”text_23-value”:”London was placed in tier two, which banned two or more people from different households from meeting indoors, unless “reasonably necessary” for work purposes.”,”timeline__element_24-header”:””,”timeline__element_24-date”:”10 December 2020″,”text_25-value”:”The Department for Education has confirmed it had an office gathering to thank staff for their work during the pandemic. It says drinks and snacks were brought by those who attended and no outside guests or support staff were invited.”,”timeline__element_26-header”:””,”timeline__element_26-date”:”14 December 2020″,”text_27-value”:”The Conservative Party has admitted that an “unauthorised gathering” took place at its HQ in Westminster. It was held by the team of the party’s London-mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, who has since stepped down as chair of the London Assembly police and crime committee. The Metropolitan Police is to speak to two people who attended the party.”,”figure_28-caption”:”The gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters was described as ‘raucous’”,”figure_28-attribution”:”Daily Mirror”,”figure_28-src”:”https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/126E4/production/_122229457_toryparty.jpg”,”timeline__element_29-header”:””,”timeline__element_29-date”:”15 December 2020″,”text_30-value”:”Multiple sources have told the BBC there was a Christmas quiz for No 10 staff last year. A photo – published by the Sunday Mirror – showed Boris Johnson taking part and sitting between two colleagues in No 10. Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing.”,”figure_31-caption”:”Mr Johnson was pictured in the No 10 library under a portrait of Margaret Thatcher”,”figure_31-attribution”:”Sunday Mirror”,”figure_31-src”:”https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/129C2/production/_122062267_0_js253011564-1.jpg”,”timeline__element_32-header”:””,”timeline__element_32-date”:”16 December 2020″,”text_33-value”:”London moved into the highest tier of restrictions and Matt Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, said it was important “everyone is cautious” ahead of the festive period.”,”text_34-value”:”The Department for Transport apologised after confirming reports of a party in its offices that day, calling it “inappropriate" and an "error of judgment” by staff.”,”timeline__element_35-header”:””,”timeline__element_35-date”:”18 December 2020″,”text_36-value”:”Downing Street originally denied a report by the Daily Mirror that a party took place in Downing Street.”,”text_37-value”:”However, a video obtained by ITV News showed the prime minister’s then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, joking about reports of an event, saying: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.””,”timeline__element_38-header”:””,”timeline__element_38-date”:”12 April 2021″,”text_39-value”:”Lockdown restrictions were eased in England, with pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen with outdoor service only.”,”text_40-value”:”However, working from home continued to be recommended and socialising indoors with people from other households was not allowed. Meeting others outdoors was limited to groups of six people or two households.”,”timeline__element_41-header”:””,”timeline__element_41-date”:”16 April 2021″,”text_42-value”:”Two parties were held by Downing Street staff at No 10, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.”,”text_43-value”:”One of the events was a leaving party for the PM’s then director of communications James Slack, who has apologised for the event and acknowledged it “should not have happened at the time that it did”.”,”text_44-value”:”Boris Johnson was not at either party.”},”outputs”:[{“wrapper”:”embed”},{“wrapper”:”core”},{“wrapper”:”envelope”},{“wrapper”:”amp”},{“wrapper”:”news-app”},{“wrapper”:”syndication”,”photoCaption”:””,”photoURL”:””,”hyperlinkCallToAction”:”Click here to see the BBC interactive”},{“wrapper”:”facebook”,”height”:960,”withMargins”:”yes”},{“wrapper”:”applenews”,”photoCaption”:””,”photoURL”:””,”hyperlinkCallToAction”:”Click or tap here to see interactive content”}],”autoFixLintingErrors”:false,”polyfill”:false,”dynamicImports”:false,”reactProject”:false,”failFast”:false,”includePath”:{“responsive”:true,”newsapps”:true,”app-image”:”https://placehold.it/640×360″,”app-clickable”:true,”amp-clickable”:true,”amp-image-height”:360,”amp-image-width”:640,”amp-image”:”https://placehold.it/640×360″,”app-image-alt-text”:”Click or tap here to see interactive content”},”languages”:[“english”],”destinationSection”:{“english”:”uk”},”uncompressedAppBudget”:”(1024 * 1000) * 0.5″,”meta”:{“title”:{“english”:””},”images”:[{“thumbnail”:””}],”hasBeenDeployed”:false,”publication_date”:null,”publication_date_iso”:null,”last_modified”:null,”last_modified_iso”:null,”data_last_modified”:null,”data_last_modified_iso”:null,”keywords”:[“vj”,”visual-journalism”,”visualjournalism”,”visual journalism”],”locations”:{“regions”:[]}},”defaultPort”:1031,”usedPort”:1031,”generateForMozart”:true,”shadowDom”:true,”projectNamespace”:”vjeastasia-800-timeline_on_slack”,”outputDir”:”include/vjeastasia/800-timeline_on_slack”,”optimiseImagesOnEveryBuild”:false,”includes”:{“VJAFEAST-551”:{“uuid”:”0688218a-ff22-45ce-9be1-b32b59b60dd7″},”VJAFWEST-875″:{“uuid”:”5a3d7105-364c-45b6-afe7-3784ecacbb2d”},”app”:{“uuid”:”06c42180-dddb-4c6a-9ca2-d0deefca9b19″},”newsspec-32240″:{“uuid”:”12d5b9cc-cca1-4ec2-8865-bc1db77a282e”},”newsspec-32685″:{“uuid”:”c893bac0-911d-4939-b6f5-a5174a2fc17c”},”newsspec-32691″:{“uuid”:”8173f1ee-a04f-4bf0-b2f6-8e7f65125d63″},”newsspec-32698″:{“uuid”:”382bde99-addf-4343-8142-8e7c36032349″},”vjeastasia-1024″:{“uuid”:”c8de6db2-4447-4019-a525-c5eee97c4ed7″},”vjeastasia-1040″:{“uuid”:”1141c5bd-fc01-4e5d-b0e1-96a9b332b7a5″},”vjeastasia-970″:{“uuid”:”68ff0052-4a83-4d80-bafe-01219b076b5d”},”vjeastasia-677″:{“uuid”:”89be3ab7-fb51-498b-87d0-e9a58153cb68″},”vjeurope-730″:{“uuid”:”9817bff5-982c-427f-8ab3-81783ada6eda”}},”pathToWrapperAssets”:”https://news.files.bbci.co.uk/include/vjeastasia/800-timeline_on_slack/assets/embed”,”pathToInclude”:”https://news.files.bbci.co.uk/include/vjeastasia/800-timeline_on_slack/english/newsspec-32691/embed”,”pathToWrapperAssetsToInclude”:”https://news.files.bbci.co.uk/include/vjeastasia/800-timeline_on_slack/english/newsspec-32691/embed”};nu003c/script>nu003clink rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://news.files.bbci.co.uk/include/vjeastasia/800-timeline_on_slack/assets/embed/css/inline.css??v=1.0.202201141030.202201141030″>nu003cdiv id=”responsive-embed-vjeastasia-800-timeline_on_slack-newsspec-32691″ class=”bbc-news-vj-embed-wrapper”>n u003cdiv id=”responsive-embed-vjeastasia-800-timeline_on_slack-newsspec-32691-core-content”>n u003cdiv class=”gel-wrap”>n u003cdiv class=”gel-layout”>n u003cdiv class=”gel-layout__item gel-1/1″>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline__container “>n u003ch2 class=”timeline__main-header”>Timeline: The alleged government gatheringsu003c/h2>n u003cp>n u003cspan class=”gel-body-copy”>The government is facing mounting pressure over several events that are alleged to have been held during lockdowns. Here is what we know about them and the restrictions in place at the time:u003c/span>n u003c/p>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__content”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__sideline timeline__sideline–bg”>u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>10 May 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Boris Johnson announced a plan to take the “first careful steps" out of the lockdown that began in March 2020. But he said people should continue to "obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them”.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>Legal restrictions at the time said you could not leave your house without a reasonable excuse and government guidance was that you could meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor setting while exercising.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>15 May 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>A photo from May 2020 showed the prime minister and his staff with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard in the Downing Street garden. When asked about it, Boris Johnson said, “those people were at work talking about work”.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>20 May 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>About 100 people were invited by email to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” on behalf of the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>Witnesses told the BBC the PM and his wife were among about 30 people who attended.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>Boris Johnson has confirmed he attended the event, saying he was there for 25 minutes and “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>17 July 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Boris Johnson announced plans for a “significant return to normality" in England by Christmas "through targeted, local action” instead of national lockdowns.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>But he added that the timetable relied on “every one of us staying alert and acting responsibly”.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>5 November 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>With cases of coronavirus rising again, the prime minister told people in England that “we are once again asking you to stay at home” as a new national lockdown began.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>He said people should only leave their homes “for work if you can’t work from home, for education, and for essential activities and emergencies”. Indoor gatherings with other households were banned, unless they were for work purposes.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>13 November 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Sources told the BBC that Downing Street staff members attended a gathering with Carrie Johnson in the flat where she and the prime minister live. A spokesman for Mrs Johnson denies the party took place.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>27 November 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>A leaving event was held for No 10 aide, Cleo Watson, where people were drinking, and Mr Johnson made a speech, according to sources.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>2 December 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>The second national lockdown ended after four weeks but Boris Johnson replaced those restrictions with “tough tiers to keep this virus down”.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>London was placed in tier two, which banned two or more people from different households from meeting indoors, unless “reasonably necessary” for work purposes.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>10 December 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>The Department for Education has confirmed it had an office gathering to thank staff for their work during the pandemic. It says drinks and snacks were brought by those who attended and no outside guests or support staff were invited.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>14 December 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>The Conservative Party has admitted that an “unauthorised gathering” took place at its HQ in Westminster. It was held by the team of the party’s London-mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, who has since stepped down as chair of the London Assembly police and crime committee. The Metropolitan Police is to speak to two people who attended the party.u003c/p>n n n n u003cfigure class=”figure”>n u003cpicture>n u003cimg class=”figure__img”n src=”http://naijal.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Downing-Street-apologises-to-Queen-over-lockdown-parties.202201141030.jpeg”n alt=”The gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters was described as ‘raucous’” />n u003c/picture>n u003cfigcaption class=”figure__figcaption gel-brevier” >n u003cspan class=”off-screen”>Image captionu003c/span> The gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters was described as ‘raucous’n u003cspan class=”figure__attribution”>n u003cspan class=”off-screen”>Image copyright byu003c/span> Daily Mirrorn u003c/span>n u003c/figcaption>n u003c/figure>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>15 December 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Multiple sources have told the BBC there was a Christmas quiz for No 10 staff last year. A photo – published by the Sunday Mirror – showed Boris Johnson taking part and sitting between two colleagues in No 10. Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing.u003c/p>n n n n u003cfigure class=”figure”>n u003cpicture>n u003cimg class=”figure__img”n src=”http://naijal.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/1642169491_835_Downing-Street-apologises-to-Queen-over-lockdown-parties.202201141030.jpeg”n alt=”Mr Johnson was pictured in the No 10 library under a portrait of Margaret Thatcher” />n u003c/picture>n u003cfigcaption class=”figure__figcaption gel-brevier” >n u003cspan class=”off-screen”>Image captionu003c/span> Mr Johnson was pictured in the No 10 library under a portrait of Margaret Thatchern u003cspan class=”figure__attribution”>n u003cspan class=”off-screen”>Image copyright byu003c/span> Sunday Mirrorn u003c/span>n u003c/figcaption>n u003c/figure>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>16 December 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>London moved into the highest tier of restrictions and Matt Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, said it was important “everyone is cautious” ahead of the festive period.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>The Department for Transport apologised after confirming reports of a party in its offices that day, calling it “inappropriate" and an "error of judgment” by staff.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>18 December 2020u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Downing Street originally denied a report by the Daily Mirror that a party took place in Downing Street.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>However, a video obtained by ITV News showed the prime minister’s then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, joking about reports of an event, saying: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>12 April 2021u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Lockdown restrictions were eased in England, with pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen with outdoor service only.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>However, working from home continued to be recommended and socialising indoors with people from other households was not allowed. Meeting others outdoors was limited to groups of six people or two households.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n n u003cdiv class=”timeline”>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__indicator”>n u003c/div>n u003cp class=”timeline__date”>n u003ctime>16 April 2021u003c/time>n u003c/p>n n u003cp>Two parties were held by Downing Street staff at No 10, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>One of the events was a leaving party for the PM’s then director of communications James Slack, who has apologised for the event and acknowledged it “should not have happened at the time that it did”.u003c/p>n n n n u003cp>Boris Johnson was not at either party.u003c/p>n n n u003c/div>n u003c/div>n u003cdiv class=”timeline__drawer hidden”>n u003cbutton class=”timeline__button timeline__button–reveal”>n Show moren u003c/button>n u003c/div>n u003c/div>n u003c/div>n u003c/div>n u003c/div>n u003c/div>nu003c/div>nu003cstyle id=”responsive-embed-vjeastasia-800-timeline_on_slack-newsspec-32691-inline-css”>n 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