Boris Johnson Claims He Thought Party He Attended During Lockdown Was 'Work Event'—But Nobody's Buying It
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in hot water after ITV news revealed he’d attended a boozy garden party in May 2020, when his government had locked down the country in the opening months of the pandemic.
While the British government was prohibiting people from having a meeting involving more than two people, Johnson attended drinks in the No 10 garden.
The news was revealed only this week, igniting fury in the British people.
Tense days ahead as Boris Johnson waits to find out if inquiry ordered by Boris Johnson finds that Boris Johnson attended a party at Boris Johnson\u2019s house.— Have I Got News For You (@Have I Got News For You) 1641899431
Finally admitting he attended a party during the UK\u2019s first lockdown (\u201cjust\u201d for 25 minutes, he claims) comes after weeks of dodging questions about the matter. He says he thought it was a \u201cwork event\u201d. Smells like BS to me. The country awaits your resignation, @BorisJohnson.— Omid Scobie (@Omid Scobie) 1641989792
Government guidance said in-person meetings should usually be avoided - if they needed to go ahead \u201conly absolutely necessary participants should attend\u201d\n \nIt did say work meetings should be held outdoors whenever possible\n \nhttps://bbc.in/3I1YVB1\u00a0\n\n#BBCRealityCheck— BBC Politics (@BBC Politics) 1642002705
On Monday, ITV News published a leaked email inviting 100 people to the garden party in May 2020.
The missive read:
“After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”
This party was planned when many countries were still scrambling to deal with the global pandemic. Great Britain had enacted strict guidelines involving who could meet with who, and severely limiting in-person meetings.
So how did Johnson justify attending this party?
He claimed he thought it was a “work event”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says the PM's defence that 'he didn't realise he was at a party is offensive to the British public'.\n\nHe asks Boris Johnson whether he will resign, as the PM replies "I want to repeat I thought it was a work event".\n\nhttps://trib.al/uO8XjYQ\u00a0pic.twitter.com/aAGYYayX0L— Sky News (@Sky News) 1641989542
During this week’s Questions to the Prime Minister, Johnson apologized to the public. He claimed to know the anguish and rage they feel, as government officials ignored the very guidelines they set out for others.
“And I know the rage they feel with me, over the government I lead, when they think that in Downing Street itself, the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules. And though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know that there were things we simply did not get right.”
“And I must take responsibility.”
Johnson then tried to avoid responsibility by claiming he “believed implicitly” that the drinks party “was a work event.”
The one with the email invite to “bring your own booze!”
He also tried to mitigate it by saying he only stayed about 25 minutes, and speculated that the party might have “technically” followed the guidance given at the time.
People online were not very charitable with this interpretation.
I\u2019m always asked to bring booze to my work meetings in the garden!!!— Keith Lewington (@Keith Lewington) 1642009497
The idea that Johnson wasn't aware what kind of event it was is laughable #PMQs #DowningStreetPartiespic.twitter.com/mzjNYxLud1— Martin Enjoying the Sea Front at Wits-End \ud83d\udc99 (@Martin Enjoying the Sea Front at Wits-End \ud83d\udc99) 1641990412
I work for the NHS. There was no such thing as BYOB gatherings. Just burn out, overwhelm and tears to be honest.— Paloma in Sussex \ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa\u2600\ufe0f (@Paloma in Sussex \ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa\u2600\ufe0f) 1641990983
Every fancy dress party I go to I always make sure the costume includes a laptop. Just in case\u2026— Carl (@Carl) 1641992318
\u2018Bring a bottle\u2019 - to a work meeting? What sort of a ruddy workplace is that? #JohnsonIsALiar #ToriesOut— Lynn Dalton \ud83c\udf39\ud83e\udd84\ud83c\udf08\ud83c\udf0d (@Lynn Dalton \ud83c\udf39\ud83e\udd84\ud83c\udf08\ud83c\udf0d) 1641997960
NEW #PMQs fact check by @Femi_Sorry\n\nIn which Boris Johnson wanders into a boozy party in his own back garden on a balmy evening in lockdown and claims "I believed implicitly this was a work event"\n\nExcruciating even by his own standards pic.twitter.com/IhvHbYl4bO— The Citizens (@The Citizens) 1642027121
Boris Johnson arriving at the party thinking its a work eventpic.twitter.com/CW8h7zb6C2— Huggan (@Huggan) 1641989855
Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party roasted this excuse, saying:
“Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?”
As of now, Johnson has not said anything about resignation.