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25th Jan 2022

Boris Johnson’s praise for 7-year-old who cancelled birthday party comes back to bite him

April Curtin

If only Boris Johnson could be more like Josephine

A tweet Boris Johnson sent praising a seven-year-old for cancelling her birthday party during lockdown has come back to bite him after it was revealed that he celebrated his own with a bash in Downing Street.

The tweet, from 21 March 2020, was unearthed as ITV News on Monday reported that the prime minister held an event on 19 June 2020 – when indoor social mixing was banned – to celebrate his 56th birthday. Some 30 guests were said to have attended and enjoyed cake and food from M&S.

Things didn’t improve for Johnson on Tuesday when the Met announced it was launching an investigation into lockdown-breaching parties at Downing St and Whitehall. The probe means Sue Gray’s much-awaited report into the gatherings has been delayed. A number of Tory MPs were waiting on the findings of Gray’s report before deciding whether to challenge Johnson’s leadership, but it is unclear at this point if the Met’s announcement has given Johnson room to breathe or worsened his position within his own party.

In the tweet, Johnson praised Josephine for “setting a great example” and told Brits “together we can beat this”. His reply ended with the hashtag, #BeLikeJosephine

The schoolgirl had written to the PM saying: “I am staying at home because you asked us to. I think mummy and daddy might have to cancel my party but I don’t mind because I want everybody to be OK.

“Please keep working hard to keep us all well.”

In reply, Johnson wrote: “We have all got to do our bit to protect the NHS and save lives. You are setting a great example.”

He continued: “We are working round the clock to keep people safe, and if we work together we can send coronavirus packing.”