Boris Johnson's 'Accidental Partying' In Partygate Photos Gets Torn To Shreds On Twitter

·6 min read
Boris Johnson pictured in November 2020 at a Downing Street party (Photo: ITV News)
Boris Johnson pictured in November 2020 at a Downing Street party (Photo: ITV News)

Boris Johnson pictured in November 2020 at a Downing Street party (Photo: ITV News)

Photos of Boris Johnson making a toast during a lockdown gathering in No.10 were leaked on Monday – sending Twitter into a rage.

The damaging images were obtained by ITV News and were published ahead of the full partygate report from senior civil servant Sue Gray, although this is expected later this week.

The pictures also came just days after the Metropolitan Police confirmed that its investigation into the Downing Street parties had concluded after issuing 126 fines, one of which went to Johnson for attending a party in June 2020.

But, these images appear to show the prime minister breaching the lockdown rules again, on November 13 2020 – meaning it was not the event he received a fine for.

This occasion was meant to honour the departing communications chief Lee Cain, and it took place just days after the government had ordered a second national lockdown in England.

A No.10 spokesperson allegedly told ITV News: “The Cabinet Office and the Met Police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs.

“The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the prime minister will address parliament in full.”

From the moment ITV News shared the photos, Twitter users went into a spiral of frustration and disbelief.

Some just couldn’t believe the excuse that the prime minister might have unintentionally joined such a gathering without knowing it was breaking the rules – Johnson used this defence to explain away his presence at his own birthday party in June that same year.

A former Labour aide Tom Hamilton also speculated that the prime minister’s defence this time was going to revolve around the way he replied to queries about this gathering last December.

Labour MP Catherine West asked Johnson if he could say whether a party occurred on November 13, 2020 in the Commons. He replied: “No, but I’m sure whatever happened the guidance and the rules were followed at all times.”

Hamilton suggested Johnson would claim his reply of “no” was to the first part of the question, rather than a denial that a party actually happened.

Others reminded their followers about all the lengths Johnson went to discourage other people from partying throughout the various lockdowns.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner also retrieved a Covid campaign poster which reminded people not to break lockdown rules.

She tweeted: “What if that one person was the prime minister? What if he made the rules he broke?”

And there were the inevitable questions about what counts for a breach of the lockdown rules in the eyes of the Met.

Others questioned why the length of time the prime minister was present at this gathering mattered at all when it came to explaining why he was not fined.

Some took on the barbs the prime minister normally aims at his critics and sarcastically used it to describe the photo.

And it seems few were impressed with transport secretary Grant Shapps’ attempts to defend Johnson over the photo leak.

Then there were some more flippant responses to the quality of the photos released – the other people in the image were blurred, presumably to protect their identity – and Twitter jumped on the opportunity:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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