Downing Street lockdown parties: How many parties did Boris Johnson have and what were the Covid restrictions?

More revelations have been made about the number of parties held at 10 Downing Street during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 1:57 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 3:02 pm

It has now been revealed by journalists at The Telegraph that two more gatherings were held by the Prime Minister last April, while the country was in a period of national mourning.

It came after the death of Prince Philip, and the events were held the night before his socially-distanced funeral.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under fire for a number of parties held at Number 10 Downing Street during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

Restrictions including a ban on indoor household mixing and a limit on the number of people you could meet outdoors were in place at the time.

One of the parties is believed to have been in honour of James Slack, a Sheffield journalist who moved on to become the PM’s director of communications.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been under fire this week for his involvement in the parties, with calls from many for him to resign.

But how many gatherings were held by those in power and what Covid restrictions were in place at the time? This is everything we know so far.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologised for a number of parties which took place at Downing Street during the pandemic despite the coronavirus restrictions which were in place at the time. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

How many parties did Boris Johnson hold?

While it is still slightly unclear just how many events took place at Downing Street during the pandemic, The Telegraph says it believes there were at least 12 parties there from 2020 to 2021.

Over recent weeks, multiple pictures and reports of various events at Number 10 have been released, showing members of staff gathering in the garden and socialising.

Emails inviting staff members to parties have also been leaked.

As well as two separate parties in honour of members of staff who were leaving in April last year, there are reports of Christmas parties, wine and cheese nights, quizzes and other boozy leavy dos throughout the pandemic.

During all of these events, coronavirus restrictions were in force, ranging from full lockdowns to a ban on indoor mixing and only two people from different households allowed to meet outside.

When the alleged Department for Transport Christmas party was held on December 16, 2020, London had just been moved into Tier 3 – the highest level on restrictions.

At the time of the infamous ‘wine and cheese’ gathering in the garden on No 10, no more than two people from different households were allowed to mix outdoors and all indoor household mixing was illegal.

The Prime Minister is not believed to have been present at all of the gatherings, and a spokesperson said he was at Chequers – his country house – at the time of the staff leaving dos in April.

What has Boris Johnson said about the parties at 10 Downing Street?

During Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Boris Johnson apologised for a party held at Downing Street in May 2020 which was attended by roughly 40 people, including the Johnsons, during the national lockdown.

However, he argues that a garden meeting with wine and cheese on May 15 was not a party and was a ‘work event’ which did not break any rules.

He has asked Sue Gray, the second permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office, to investigate all Government parties held during the pandemic.