‘Socially Distanced Drinks’: Cummings Claims Another COVID Rule-Breaking Party Held at No.10 in 2020

© REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLEFILE PHOTO: Dominic Cummings, special adviser for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 13, 2020
FILE PHOTO: Dominic Cummings, special adviser for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 13, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.01.2022
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The claims come as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains under fire following reports that he and his aides attended a spate of No. 10 parties in 2020 despite a host of strict coronavirus restrictions being in place in Britain at the time.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings has claimed that another COVID rule-breaking party was held in the Number 10 garden in May 2020.
In his new blog post released on Friday, Cummings mentioned “a social event” that allegedly took place on 20 May 2020, when an unnamed senior Number 10 official "invited people to ‘socially distanced drinks’ in the garden”.

He claimed that he had warned that the alleged event “seemed to be against the [COVID lockdown] rules and should not happen”, but that he was “ignored”.

Johnson’s ex-chief aide added that he wrote the warning in an email that could be discovered by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is currently investigating a string of allegations about lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street that were held on 27 November 2020 and 18 December of that year.
Gray replaced Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who was forced to recuse himself from leading the probe into the Whitehall gatherings after it emerged that a Christmas quiz had been held at his department amid COVID restrictions.
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Cummings, meanwhile, also asserted in the new blog post that the so-called “cheese and wine” gathering in the No. 10 garden on 15 May 2020 was within the rules.
In December, The Guardian published a leaked photo which showed Cummings sitting at a table with Johnson and his then-fiancee Carry Symonds as a group of the PM’s aides was seen in the background.
BoJo’s former chief aide insisted that “the scene on the terrace was in no sense a ‘party’ or ‘organised drinks’ because many meetings had been taking place in the garden all day”.
The claims come after Cummings argued last month that there were pictures from last year’s COVID rule-breaking Christmas parties at No. 10 and that Johnson knew about an alleged party on 18 December, but did not attend the event.
Cummings, who was himself embroiled in controversy over perceived double standards after travelling to Durham from London during the lockdown in spring 2020, went on Twitter to claim that there was also footage from the alleged Downing Street parties that would "inevitably get out".
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The ex-Whitehall political strategist also claimed that the UK prime minister had been “lying” when answering questions about the alleged parties at PMs Questions and at press conferences earlier in December.
In a separate development last month, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner described the “wine and cheese” photograph as “a slap in the face of the British public”, adding that “the prime minister consistently shows us he has no regard for the rules he puts in place for the rest of us”.
At the time of the alleged party, restrictions set in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus advised people to remain at home unless exercising or out to shop for food. Non-essential shops, bars, and restaurants were closed throughout that period.
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