Tuesday, 18 Jan 2022

Which Government ministers have denied attending the Downing Street party?

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Boris Johnson attended a party in the Downing Street Garden on May 20, 2020, when the rest of the UK was adhering to strict lockdown rules. The Prime Minister attempted to claim the party was ”technically” within the rules and offered his “heartfelt” apologies, but resisted immense pressure to resign. But as Mr Johnson admitted his attendance at the party, it has only caused speculation about which other cabinet ministers could have been in attendance.

Rishi Sunak

A spokesperson for Mr Sunak has said he did not attend the party.

Mr Sunak appeared to be making an attempt to distance himself from the Prime Minister, as he was absent from Prime Minister’s Questions when Mr Johnson admitted he attended the party.

He said on Twitter on Wednesday, some eight hours after Mr Johnson apologised: “The PM was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry.”

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Dominic Raab

The Deputy Prime Minister came under fire after Conservative MP Simon Hoare said that the “bring your own booze” lockdown soiree was organised as a “thank you” to the then Foreign Secretary for stepping up while Boris Johnson was in intensive care from COVID-19 in April 2020.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said in response: “If the Deputy Prime Minister also attended this party he needs to come clean.
“The public has a right to know if any other senior Tories were at this party while the rest of the country was locked down.”

A spokesman for Mr Raab, now the Justice Secretary, said that was “categorically untrue” and he had not attended the event.

Michael Gove

When asked whether he had attended, Mr Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, said he had been giving a statement to the Commons about the Northern Ireland Protocol.

This statement finished at 2pm.

His spokesman later said he did not attend.

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Priti Patel

The Home Secretary has not given word on whether she did, or did, not attend the party.

She did, however, disagree with the Chancellor when asked whether she was reserving judgement over the drinks party row until the official investigation is finished.

Ms Patel replied: “No! On the contrary.

“I have publicly supported the prime minister and actually you’re speaking to the home secretary who spends all my time day in, day out supporting the prime minister, his agenda of delivering on the people’s priorities and the work that we do.”

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