The newly published photos show the Prime Minister drinking at a Downing Street party during a pandemic lockdown.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces renewed charges of lying after photos surfaced of him drinking at a Downing Street party amid a 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
The revelations come as Sue Gray, a senior official, was expected to publish her much-anticipated full report in a series of rule-breaking parties dubbed the “Partygate” by the media, despite claims Johnson tried to drop it.
The photos, published Monday night by ITV News, were taken at a farewell party for Johnson’s communications chief Lee Cain on 13 November 2020, days after the government ordered a second lockdown and banned household mixing.
Johnson can be seen raising a glass and talking to several people around a table with bottles of wine and food.
Police have been investigating the event as part of their “Partygate” investigation and have fined one person, but not Johnson.
When asked in the House of Representatives about the meeting in December last year, he insisted that there was no party on that date and that no rules were being broken.
Johnson has been fined for a surprise birthday party he attended in Downing Street in June 2020, but not for another event.
The deputy leader of the main opposition Labor party, Angela Rayner, said it was “astonishing” that Johnson was not fined for the November meeting.
She told ITV News it seemed “pretty clear” that there was a party going on that wasn’t a work event, calling it “quite shocking” that he hadn’t been fined for it.
“He knew he was breaking the rules, and he knew it all along and yet he tried to get away with it. He has tried to lie to the British public and he has also tried to lie to parliament,” Rayner said.
But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tried to defend Johnson on Tuesday, saying the new photos showed he was “clearly not” partying.
“Looks like he was asked to thank an employee who left, he raises a glass to them and I imagine he goes in and out pretty quickly which is presumably why the police don’t have a lump sum fine issued to the Prime Minister,” Shapps told BBC radio.
Shapps said he didn’t think London police needed to explain why Johnson had not been fined for the event.
Long awaited report
The Times newspaper reported Tuesday that Johnson had pressured Gray to drop her long-awaited report.
Sky News quoted sources as saying Johnson wondered what else would be said after police finished their work.
Rayner joined a chorus of opposition voices calling for the Gray report to be published “as soon as possible”.
“The full report – and all the evidence – should be published without delay,” she tweeted. “Anything less will amount to further cover up for this deceitful, untrustworthy prime minister.”