Parties in Downing Street weren’t just the three or four we know of – they were a regular occurrence throughout lockdown, particularly on Friday nights.
One of the reasons the Metropolitan Police have so far refused to properly investigate is that their officers got along ignoring the breach of law.
A source worked at 10 Downing Street for several months of the lockdown. They recall the Christmas party of December 18, 2020, after which PM spokeswoman Allegra Stratton resigned.
They say: ‘As I left Downing Street the Friday night staff headed for the party at the press office. The usual Friday gathering but with a festive twist, clink of bottles in bags, people were in Christmas sweaters.
At the time, government regulations in London specifically stated: ‘While there are exemptions for work purposes, you must not hold a lunch or Christmas party at work, where this is an activity primarily social and not otherwise allowed by your level’s rules. ”
Downing Street is one of the most heavily guarded places in the country. There are security devices and cameras all over the small street and the gardens behind. These are constantly monitored.
To enter the gates manned by Met protection officers, you must show a pass and all comings and goings – including those in fancy dress and Santa Claus sweaters carrying bottle bags – are recorded on CCTV.
Inside number 10, the first room on the right is where the huge bank of screens showing the camera feeds are, looking everywhere, including the garden.
It is inconceivable that the Met police were unaware of the Christmas one, the May 20 garden party, the April one last year for the departure of James Slack – he was then Boris Johnson’s top adviser, now a senior Sun apparatchik – or one of the parties before or after.
Do the Everyday and Everynight tapes in question exist unless, of course, the Met erased them?
“Everyone knew about it,” my source says. “It was like a different country.”
Parties are in the gray zone
There is so much spin in Downing Street that, harvested, it would power a small country.
The hand of Dominic Cummings was omnipresent in the first revelations of the party but not in the last, those on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.
The latest twist concerns the departure of top SPAD James Slack and another for the departure of one of the Prime Minister’s photographers, with the two drunken groups later mingling.
in garden number 10 in the early hours of Philip’s funeral on April 17 last year.
It is said that at one point a subordinate was sent with a wheeled suitcase to the Co-op on the Strand to fill up with bottles of wine, although why he or she didn’t just cross the road to the Tesco Express under Portcullis House at Westminster Bridge, I don’t know. Maybe they don’t stock Dom Pérignon?
The difference here is that Boris was at Checkers that day, so he’s flawless on this one.
This line, I am reliably informed, is choreographed by Carrie, Boris’s wife, in a desperate effort to pin everything down on the drinking culture rooted in the fabric of Number 10, which the PM knew nothing about because everything happened in the basement while he was in his apartment, until he innocently stumbled upon what he thought was the “work event” on May 20.
For this to work and for Boris to keep his job, he needs the official in charge of the investigation, Sue Gray, to conclude that although he was stupid (we knew that!), he did not actually violate the law. law during his 25-minute visit to the garden. And if he didn’t, conveniently, the Met needn’t proceed.
The media repeatedly say that this is an independent investigation. Of course not. Gray may be independent-minded, although the evidence weighs against her, but this is insider work in Whitehall. A whitening job?
Gray works in the Cabinet Office, where she has the title of “Managing Director, Property and Ethics Team”. Its job is to determine whether the rules have been broken by officials, ministers and special advisers, and to anticipate any damage.
Part of his job is to sign memoirs (including by elected politicians) to check that they haven’t revealed anything unnecessary.
She is seen as a force for conservatism in the civil service and an internal critic of attempts to open up the Whitehall machine to scrutiny.
She likes to deal on the phone, so there are no paper trails, sources say.
Even when a documentary trail exists, she insists on keeping it secret. She also advised special advisers on how to destroy emails (via “double deletion”) to thwart freedom of information requests.
Again, we know through FOI that she kept no logs of why, how and when she destroyed documents.
We should learn this week how independent Gray is and whether Carrie’s rotation worked.
Pulling my leg
UP TO now I had thought Wet Leg was a rather unfortunate grooming experience for a gentleman, but apparently it’s a band. If two can be a group. A friend tells me that they are “the current darlings of well-meaning arty liberal cliques”.
They are certainly the darling of the Guardian’s Zoe Williams, whose recent article on them could make Pseuds Corner. In fact, anything Ms. Williams writes could do it. Here is a sample.
“The origin story they settled on was that they made the decision to start a band on top of a Ferris wheel. But I refuse to ask them about it because she’s just too manic pixie dream girl and I don’t want to encourage that. They are called Wet Leg because they wanted a name they could spell with emojis. Like many of their lyrics, it makes sense and it doesn’t, because those emojis could mean “wet leg” or “tsunami robot” or “rain chicken.”
BEFORE Christmas I bought a pair of trainers from Sports Direct and paid an extra £3.99 for express delivery. They were supposed to be a Christmas present.
As soon as I paid a message told me that they would not be delivered on click-and-collect until January 5th.
I immediately tried to cancel online. The algorithm said no. I went to the store and tried. Take a walk, was the message.
Today is January 16 and still no sign. Maybe by Christmas? I bought a pair of sneakers for the over-the-counter giveaway at JD Sports. I recommend you do the same.
Scottish Tory Douglas Ross was slapped during the week as a political ‘lightweight’ by Jacob Rees-Mogg after The Linesman said Boris should quit. By contrast, Moggie described Scottish Secretary Alister Jack as “a far more substantial and important figure”.
He talks about the Alister Jack who in 2011 backed Murdo Fraser’s leadership bid which, if successful, would have meant independence from the national party, dropping the Conservative name and creating a new Scottish union.
Jack was then a successful businessman, worth an estimated £20million.
“I gave Murdo the assurance that large sums of money will be put in place if he wins,” he said at the time.
He backed the wrong horse then, and he backs Boris now.
And finally …
When you reach 100, you receive a letter from the queen. When you turn 17, you might get a text from Prince Andrew.
And Len Pennie for Makar. That’s all.