UK Media Publishes Photo of BoJo Holding No 10 2020 Xmas Quiz 'in Breach of COVID Laws'

© AP Photo / Hollie AdamsBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a press conference in London, Saturday Nov. 27, 2021, after cases of the new COVID-19 variant were confirmed in the UK
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a press conference in London, Saturday Nov. 27, 2021, after cases of the new COVID-19 variant were confirmed in the UK - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.12.2021
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A Cabinet Office investigation is ongoing to probe reports of Downing Street holding Christmas gatherings in 2020 amid coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The Mirror has published a photo of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting a Christmas quiz at Downing Street "in breach of COVID laws" last year, when London was under tier 2 restrictions which banned social mixing.
In the picture, Johnson is seen sitting with two colleagues underneath a portrait of Margaret Thatcher in a No 10 library as he reportedly read out questions to staff over video. One staffer appears to be wearing tinsel, while another had a Christmas hat on.

The Mirror cited unnamed government sources as saying that in one Whitehall office, four teams made up of six people attended the 15 December 2020 quiz while they huddled round computer screens.

One source claimed "it was just part of the culture" and that "the PM turned a blind eye [as] he seemed totally comfortable with gatherings".
According to the insider, dozens of staffers signed up to take part in the quiz online but they finally decided to attend the event from No 10 instead.

"Everybody decided it would be more fun. It would be difficult to take part in such a large virtual quiz from home. No work was discussed, it wasn't a business event. Nobody was working that evening, it was purely a social event", the insider said.

They added that even though the quiz wrapped up at about 9 p.m., staff stayed on for approximately two hours "drinking and chatting". Some moved around No 10 to talk with colleagues in an apparent violation of the tier 2 rules. Under the COVID-19 regulations imposed in London and most other parts of the UK at the time, gatherings of two or more people indoors were banned unless "reasonably necessary for work".
"Nobody ever questioned whether this was against the rules or if we shouldn't be doing this. We all just went ahead and did it. At the time we didn't even click that what we were doing was so severely wrong. I've realised now that it was actually pretty outrageous. We felt like we were working extremely hard and working a lot of hours. Looking back, I accept we shouldn't have done that", the source admitted.
A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), in the House of Commons in London on December 8, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
Boris Johnson 'Sickened' by Leaked Video of No 10 Staff Joking About Lockdown Christmas Party
A Downing Street spokesperson, in turn, responded to The Mirror report saying "this was a virtual quiz" and that No 10 staff "were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks".

"The prime minister briefly took part virtually in a quiz to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year", the spokesperson added.

Labour Shadow Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster Angela Rayner, for her part, lashed out at the UK prime minister arguing that "while the rules said that people shouldn't have Christmas parties at work and Britons across the country were doing the right thing, Boris Johnson was instead happy to preside over a culture of disregard for the rules at the heart of government".

Referring to The Mirror report about the "festive" Christmas quiz, Rayner asserted that Johnson "really believes it's one rule for him, another for everyone else" describing the prime minister as "a man unfit to lead this country".

The Mirror earlier reported on a number of parties held at Downing Street in 2020 amid the coronavirus lockdown in November and December. Since the news erupted, the prime minister has repeatedly said that no rules were broken because he was given multiple assurances about compliance. In December, after a video, showing top No 10 staffers joking about one of the alleged parties was published, the PM asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to launch a probe into the allegations.
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