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20th Jan 2022

Sue Gray finds email showing staff knew Downing Street parties breached lockdown guidance

Ava Evans

Civil Servant finds damning evidence staff were aware May 20 gathering broke covid rules

An email confirming Boris Johnson‘s principal private secretary was warned against holding a lockdown-breaching party in Number 10 has been found, according to reports.

The email addressed to Martin Reynolds, and seen by ITV’s Robert Peston, said the party “should be cancelled because it broke the rules”.

Sue Gray who is investigating the law-breaking parties found the email.

On Tuesday, Johnson claimed, “nobody warned me it was against the rules” to host a drinks party in Downing Street during the first lockdown, arguing he believed he was attending a “work event”, permitted by the guidance.

Yet the senior civil servant who authored the e-mail – whose identity has not been revealed – has told Peston he also “probably” personally warned the PM against the party “but I honestly can’t remember”, raising doubts over whether Johnson was telling the truth.

Rumours of a party in Downing Street on May 20 first surfaced in a blog written by former aide, Dominic Cummings, who said he had personally warned Johnson to get “a grip of this madhouse” and cancel the party altogether. His claims were later rubbished by several cabinet ministers and the PM.

On Thursday afternoon the former aide suggested on Twitter that the e-mail proved he was telling the truth, and Johnson had been lying.

He wrote: “Episode 197 of no10 saying ‘cummings lying’ then evidence shows no10 is lying.

“NB Broadcasters shd [sic] now assume no10 is lying unless strong reason to think contrary, given lying is default mode as regime implodes”.

Gray’s eagerly awaited report is due in the coming week.

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