Downing Street has disputed a report suggesting Boris Johnson held a birthday party inside Number 10 attended by up to 30 people during the first lockdown.
ITV News understands the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, helped to arrange the event which was held just after 2 pm the afternoon of 19 June 2020 – Johnson’s birthday.
Up to 30 people are thought to have attended the event which the broadcaster says was held in the Cabinet Room after the PM returned from a school visit in Hertfordshire that morning.
In the evening, family friends were reportedly hosted upstairs in the prime minister’s official residence in a further breach of the rules, ITV has reported.
At the afternoon event, the PM’s wife Johnson and Lulu Lytle – an interior designer who at the time was renovating Johnson’s flat in Downing Street – are believed to have presented the prime minister with a cake whilst his wife led staff in a chorus of happy birthday.
Meanwhile, those present are understood to have eaten picnic food from Marks & Spencer at the gathering which is said to have lasted for around 20-30 minutes.
At the time of the party, social gatherings indoors were still forbidden under the government’s own coronavirus rules.
However, a No 10 denied the claim to ITV, saying: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time, the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”
People were only permitted to meet outside in groups of up to six people and pubs, hairdressers and restaurants remained closed.
A No 10 spokeswoman said: “A group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the prime minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than 10 minutes.”
In response to ITV’s claims that an alleged event took place later on the evening of June 19 in the prime minister’s flat, the spokeswoman said: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the prime minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”