Boris Johnson urged staff ‘to let off steam’ and socialise with ‘wine-time Fridays’


Boris Johnson ‘encouraged staff to let off some steam’ and led the celebrations at a lockdown leaving do for his aide, it is claimed.

The Prime Minister allegedly organised the event and even poured the drinks to toast his former director of communications, Lee Cain, in November 2020 – something which No10 sources deny.

It is also alleged Johnson often encouraged staff to “let off steam” and socialise at Downing Street drinks do’s, dubbed ‘wine-time Fridays’, while the UK was in a strict covid lockdown, reports the Mirror.

The Prime Minister is set to receive more fines for attending lockdown parties, including the aforementioned leaving bash.

That event began with the press office having drinks to round off the week, but it is claimed it turned into a party once Mr Johnson arrived and started pouring drinks for everyone.

Sources confirmed to the Daily Mirror that the official taxpayer-funded photographer was present throughout – taking pictures of the PM breaking his own lockdown rules.

The photos were later handed to police.

Downing Street insiders have also told the Mirror how the PM would often see staff “sitting there drinking” as he went to his flat.



It is claimed the Prime Minister 'poured the drinks' at the event - including for himself
It is claimed the Prime Minister ‘poured the drinks’ at the event – including for himself

Even though indoor socialising was forbidden under lockdown rules at the time, the Prime Minister did nothing to break up the gatherings.

The source said: “He would come in and say, ‘Hello everyone, had a hard week? Letting off some steam? Oh great’.

“The idea that he didn’t know there were drinks is total nonsense. If the PM tells you to ‘let off steam’, he’s basically saying this is fine.”

One of Britain’s most respected constitutional historians yesterday branded Mr Johnson a “rogue Prime Minister unworthy of the Queen”.

Peter Hennessy, who sits in the House of Lords, said the Prime Minister was “sweeping aside all the conventions” in an “assault on the institutions of the state”.

The usually mild-mannered cross-bench peer accused Mr Johnson of “sullying” his office “like no other, turning it into an adventure playground for one man’s narcissistic vanity”.

He said: “The decencies and probities and conventions of public life are not enough to constrain the ego that is currently filling No10.”

Damningly for the Prime Minister, Lord Hennessy claimed Mr Johnson “must have knowingly misled” Parliament when he claimed repeatedly that the lockdown rules were followed at all times.



Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle
Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle

On Tuesday, Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, is expected to allow MPs to vote on whether to hold an investigation into claims the Prime Minister misled Parliament when he told MPs he had not broken any lockdown rules.

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson faces a vote on whether he will be referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee. If he is found to have broken the rules, Mr Johnson could be suspended from Parliament for a contempt of privilege.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner blasted the PM over the allegations about the party for Mr Cain.

She said: “If the latest reports are true, it would mean that not only did the Prime Minister attend parties, but he had a hand in instigating at least one of them.

“He has deliberately misled the British people at every turn. The Prime Minister has demeaned his office.”

Sources said that Mr Johnson had joined the No10 press team on November 13, 2020, the day Mr Cain and the Prime Minister’s former top aide Dominic Cummings left Downing Street. Mr Johnson “poured the drinks” – including for himself – and chatted to his aides before toasting his departing spin chief and posing for photographs.

Another insider told The Sunday Times: “Boris came fumbling over, red box in tow, and he gathered the staff around the press office table, which did have bottles of alcohol on it. He said he wanted to say a few words for Lee and started pouring drinks for people and drinking himself. He toasted him.”

Mr Johnson later headed upstairs to the flat where his wife Carrie was alleged to have been hosting a party with friends to celebrate Mr Cummings’ departure.

Downing Street sources did not dispute the description of Mr Cain’s leaving do, but denied that the Prime Minister had organised it.

Mr Johnson is understood to have been present for at least six of the 12 events being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for breaking Covid rules.

He, wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined by the Met Police for breaking lockdown laws with a gathering on June 19, 2020, celebrating the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday.

The Prime Minister is expected to make a statement to Parliament tomorrow about the fine, where he is set to apologise for breaking the rules, but insist he was not aware he had done so.

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