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Investigation Into Downing Street 'Parties' Will Include May 2020 Gatherings, Minister Ellis Says

© REUTERS / POOLPrime Minister Boris Johnson sips a pint in the beer garden during a visit to The Mount Tavern Pub and Restaurant on the local election campaign trail in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, Britain April 19, 2021.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sips a pint in the beer garden during a visit to The Mount Tavern Pub and Restaurant on the local election campaign trail in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, Britain April 19, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.01.2022
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Earlier in the day, the London Metropolitan Police press office confirmed that UK police are considering launching an investigation into an alleged party held in the garden of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official residence in Downing Street when the country was under a strict COVID-19 lockdown.
Speaking to the Parliament, UK Cabinet Minister Michael Ellis said that the government inquiry into parties in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street office would include alleged parties in the Downing Street garden in May 2020.
"I apologise again unreservedly for the upset that these allegations have caused," he said. “The allegations relating to 20 May 2020 will be included.”
“Both the prime minister and I came before this house in December, we set out the details of the investigation being led by the cabinet office into this allegations of gatherings, and those investigations are continuing,” Michael Ellis added.
On Monday night, Metropolitan Police said that they were “aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020” and were in contact with the Cabinet Office. The Metropolitan Police statement comes after a leaked email has emerged from Martin Reynolds, a key aide to Boris Johnson, inviting staff to "make the most of the lovely weather" with "some socially distanced drinks."
According to ITV, which was first to publish the Reynolds' email invitation, over 100 staff were invited to the alleged party on 20 May 2020, when the residents of England were ordered to stay at home and not gather in groups, even outside. Those who allegedly received the invitation were asked to "bring their own booze."
About 30 people came, including the prime minister and his then-fiancee, according to reports.
Following a series of allegations that arose in late 2021 claiming that several "parties" were held at 10 Downing Street during COVID-19 restrictions in the UK, Boris Johnson ordered the inquiry to determine whether rules had been broken during reported staff gatherings. The inquiry is being led by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
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