What do new Partygate photos reveal about PM’s ‘rules were followed’ claim?

Boris Johnson, seen with wine in hand, repeatedly said he had been unaware of any law-breaking parties

The prime minister is seen with a grin on his face, his red ministerial case placed on the floor, raising a plastic cup of white or sparkling wine in a toast with at least eight Downing Street officials.

Standing in a circle, a table overflowing with party fare in the foreground, they are a series of images that perhaps reflect a typical leaving-do scene.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Boris Johnson’s conversation with Sue Gray in a meeting that never happened | John Crace

Whatever the photos may show, ‘anyone can be ambushed by six bottles of wine, a bottle of gin and a bowlful of crisps’

Boris Johnson: Hello. This is not Boris Johnson.

Sue Gray: In which case, I’m not Sue Gray.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Hybrid working grew in Great Britain even as Covid rules eased, data shows

More than four in five workers want to continue flexible model despite government push for return to office

More than a third of working adults in Great Britain spent at least part of their time working from home this spring, an official survey of working patterns shows, with the proportion of people hybrid working growing even as Covid restrictions eased.

More than four in five workers – 84% – told the Office for National Statistics (ONS) they wanted to continue splitting their time between home and the office after the pandemic, while the ONS also found hybrid working patterns had shifted towards employees spending more working hours at home.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Boris Johnson tells Commons last year that no party took place on 13 November 2020 – video

Johnson is facing fresh scrutiny into his denials and dismissals of lockdown parties in Downing Street after new images emerged in which the prime minister can be seen drinking. The images, obtained by ITV News’s Paul Brand, were taken at a leaving do for Lee Cain, the prime minister’s then director of communications, on 13 November 2020. A year later, Johnson was asked about that specific date in the House of Commons and denied a party ever took place.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Covid can cause ongoing damage to heart, lungs and kidneys, study finds

One in eight Covid hospital patients have heart inflammation up to two months later, researchers find

Damage to the body’s organs including the lungs and kidneys is common in people who were admitted to hospital with Covid, with one in eight found to have heart inflammation, researchers have revealed.

As the pandemic evolved, it became clear that some people who had Covid were being left with ongoing symptoms – a condition that has been called long Covid.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Boris Johnson refuses to answer questions on Sue Gray meeting – video

Boris Johnson refuses to answer questions regarding a meeting he had with Sue Gray, as her report on the Partygate scandal is expected to be released imminently. The PM’s spokesperson confirmed that Downing Street instigated the meeting between Johnson and Gray, which took place a few weeks ago

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Partygate photos will contradict Boris Johnson’s claims, says Dominic Cummings

Former aide says witnesses have evidence of further lockdown breaches by prime minister

Photographs of the prime minister will contradict the accounts of Partygate given by Boris Johnson to police and parliament, his former chief adviser has said.

Dominic Cummings, who resigned from No 10 in 2020, said witnesses had evidence of lockdown breaches in Downing Street that would prove there were further breaches by the prime minister.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Sue Gray report: minister says ‘extraordinary pressure’ on No 10 staff in pandemic helps explain Partygate – UK politics live

Latest updates: Simon Clarke, chief secretary to Treasury, criticises Daily Mail’s briefing against Sue Gray as she prepares to publish full report

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser who is now determined to be his nemesis, has posted about Partygate on his subscription-only Substack account this morning. Here are the key points.

I expect photos of the PM will emerge very quickly, within the next 24-48 hours. Any reasonable person looking at some of these photos will only be able to conclude that the PM obviously lied to the Commons, and possibly to the cops, and there is no reasonable story for how others were fined for event X but not him.

Some people told the police (but not Sue Gray, because they did not want the PM to read their evidence) that they had evidence regarding the organisation of illegal events from the flat. E.g apart from the ‘cake ambush’ there was a separate birthday party, uncovered by the media so far I think, that evening (which almost nobody knew about at the time, including me). There is a paper trail including WhatsApps from the flat. Sounds very bad for Boris/Carrie right? Surely that must be investigated? No! The police simply ignored it. Simple! PM cleared!

This process for checking lawfulness was particularly crucial in No10 because No10 itself was exempted from some regulations (e.g so it could be part of the mass testing pilot) so staff did not know exactly what rules applied internally from day to day. They weren’t told ‘it’s your job to keep tabs on all the rule changes’, they were told ‘the PPS has a process to ensure everything is lawful’. Obviously you knew *an actual party* (such as clearly happened in 2021) would be against the rules but many of the fines were for events that junior staff thought were a normal part of work and had been approved as lawful. Such officials’ view, reasonably, is: we were told X is lawful but now it turns out Martin [Reynolds, the PM’s principal private secretary] didn’t do his job and it wasn’t and we’re being fined, but if we’re being fined, how come the PM who was there and appointed Martin, and unlike us was told BYOB was NOT within the rules, isn’t fined?!’

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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UK government briefings accusing Sue Gray of ‘playing politics’ condemned by minister

Simon Clarke hits out at claims civil servant ‘enjoying limelight a little too much’ over report into No 10 parties

A senior minister has condemned UK government briefings against the civil servant Sue Gray for “playing politics” with her imminent report into lockdown-breaching parties, while arguing it was Gray who sought a meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss the process.

Monday’s Daily Mail cited a series of anonymous government “insiders” accusing Gray, the senior official tasked with investigating the Downing Street gatherings, of “playing politics and enjoying the limelight a little too much”.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Kim Jong-un buries mentor amid North Korea Covid crisis

State media photos show Kim carrying Hyon Chol-hae’s coffin and throwing earth into his grave as country battles ‘fever’ cases amid Covid outbreak

Kim Jong-un attended the funeral for a top North Korean official, state media reported on Monday, helping carry his coffin, as the country maintained the much-disputed claim that its coronavirus outbreak is subsiding.

The official Korean Central News Agency said Kim attended the funeral on Sunday of Hyon Chol-hae, a Korean People’s Army marshal who reportedly played a key role in grooming him as the country’s next leader before Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, died in late 2011.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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