August 17, 2022
Boris Johnson Conservatives Coronavirus news Politics UK news

Downing Street explains why 19 people were in No 10 garden

Boris Johnson says it was a meeting of ‘people at work, talking about work’ during lockdown last year

There have been a series of explanations as to why Boris Johnson, his wife and 17 other people were photographed with wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden during the Covid lockdown in May last year.

Johnson’s spokesman on Friday, after sources told the Guardian and Independent about the event:

In the summer months Downing Street staff regularly use the garden for some meetings. On 15 May 2020 the prime minister held a series of meetings throughout the afternoon, including briefly with the then health and care secretary and his team in the garden following a press conference. The prime minister went to his residence shortly after 7pm. A small number of staff required to be in work remained in the Downing Street garden for part of the afternoon and evening.

As we said last week, work meetings often take place in the Downing Street garden in the summer months. On this occasion there were staff meetings after a No 10 press conference. Downing Street is the prime minister’s home as well as his workplace. The prime minister’s wife lives in No 10 and therefore also legitimately uses the garden.

I think there’s a lot of exhausted people, and they, as people do in work, were having a drink after the formal business had been done.

This shows colleagues who were required to be in work, meeting following a press conference to discuss work … It was not against the regulations for those individuals to have a drink outside working hours, but still discussing work.

This is where I live, it is where I work. Those were meetings of people at work, talking about work.

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