Number 10 pushes back against garden photo from first national lockdown – Work meetings!

Sky News: Boris Johnson at 'weakest point' of premiership

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The image, which shows Boris Johnson, 57, his wife Carrie Symonds, 33, and up to 17 members of staff tucking into wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden during the first national lockdown. In response to the photo, which was published in the Guardian, Number 10 said: “Work meetings often take place in the Downing Street garden in the summer months.”

A spokesperson added: “On this occasion there were staff meetings following a Number 10 press conference.

“Downing Street is the Prime Minister’s home as well as his workplace.

“The Prime Minister’s wife lives in Number 10 and therefore also legitimately uses the garden.”

Coronavirus restrictions at the time said social mixing between households was limited to just two people.

These people were also only able to meet outdoors at a distance of at least two metres apart.

JUST IN: ‘Unprecedented support!’ Rishi dishes out extra £220million to Scotland amid Omicron surge

COVID-19 guidelines for workers said in-person meetings should only take place if “absolutely necessary”.

The image is said to have been taken after the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 43, held a press conference on May 15, 2020.

Mr Hancock told the public: “People can now spend time outdoors and exercise as often as you like and you can meet one other person from outside your household in an outdoor, public place.

“But please keep two metres apart.

“This weekend, with the good weather and the new rules, I hope people can enjoy being outside but please stick with the rules, keep an eye on your family and don’t take risks.”

The West Suffolk MP’s spokesperson claimed Mr Hancock left the building at 6.30pm after speaking to Mr Johnson in the garden.

“There is no suggestion that Mr Hancock did anything wrong,” the spokesperson added.

Ed Balls, 54, ex-Shadow Chancellor and former Economic Secretary to the Treasury, took to Twitter to claim he had a rough idea where the snap was taken from.

“I’m pretty sure this is the view from the 11 Downing Street first floor balcony,” he said.

The report comes as pressure continues to mount on the Prime Minister.

Brexit LIVE: Article 16 beckons! Truss to square up to Brussels [SPOTLIGHT]
Adonis renews calls for closer EU union after Brexit chief Frost quits [INSIGHT]
No10 braced for fresh humiliation over more leaked footage [REVEALED]

Mr Johnson faced a major rebellion from Tory backbenchers over his Plan B COVID-19 measures, suffered a blow after the Liberal Democrats made a seismic gain at the North Shropshire by-election and was handed a letter of resignation from Brexit Minister David Frost, 56.

Number 10 has become embroiled in party scandals after it was reported festive gatherings were held at Downing Street last Christmas, some of which are believed to have had an impact on the Conservative performance in the once-safe seat of North Shropshire.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray, 64, has taken over from Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, 42, to investigate the parties.

Mr Case, who served as the Prime Minister’s permanent secretary before succeeding 57-year-old Sir Mark Sedwilll, stepped down from the review after it was revealed the Cabinet Secretary hosted a Christmas quiz last December.

But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, 41, called on Mr Johnson to “tell us the truth” about the alleged parties at Downing Street.

The SNP’s deputy leader Kirsten Oswald, 48, also urged for a “judge-led inquiry” to determine what had happened.

Source: Read Full Article