Boris Johnson's letter to girl who cancelled seventh birthday party during first lockdown resurfaces 1

Boris Johnson’s letter to girl who cancelled seventh birthday party during first lockdown resurfaces

Advertisement

Boris Johnson’s letter to a little girl who cancelled her seventh birthday party as the UK entered the first Covid lockdown has resurfaced as it emerges the Prime Minister celebrated his 56th birthday in Downing Street while such gatherings were banned under Covid rules.

Advertisement

The embattled Tory leader is facing a crisis of leadership as he fights allegations of multiple breaches of lockdown rules throughout the pandemic.

Last night, No10 admitted that Mr Johnson attended an event with 30 guests in the Cabinet Room on June 19, 2020, where participants enjoyed a Union Jack birthday cake and Marks and Spencer picnic food.

Advertisement

Just months earlier, Mr Johnson had praised Josephine, who had cancelled a birthday party just days before the first national shutdown. On Twitter, the PM said that the child had ‘set a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing’.

In a letter sent to Josephine on March 21, 2020, Mr Johnson wrote: ‘Happy birthday! I am glad to hear you are staying at home, though I am sorry to hear about your party.

‘We have all got to do our bit to protect the NHS and save lives, and that is exactly what you are doing, so well done! You are setting a great example. We are working round the clock to keep people safe, and if we work together we can send coronavirus packing. And once we have done that you can DEFINITELY have a party with your friends!

‘In answer to your question – I’m regularly washing my hands with soap and water for 20 seconds: the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice!’.

Advertisement

Mr Johnson then tweeted: ‘Josephine sets a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing. 

‘Together we can beat this. In the meantime let’s all wish her happy birthday (twice) whilst washing our hands. #BeLikeJosephine #StayHomeSaveLives’.

In another huge blow to Mr Johnson’s authority, ITV News claimed that the PM attended a gathering organised by his wife Carrie in the Cabinet Room in No10 on June 19, 2020, to celebrate turning 56.

Boris Johnson’s letter to a girl who cancelled her seventh birthday party as the UK entered the first lockdown has resurfaced

Boris Johnson’s letter to a girl who cancelled her seventh birthday party as the UK entered the first lockdown has resurfaced

Advertisement
Just months earlier, Mr Johnson had praised Josephine, who had cancelled a party just days before the first shutdown

Just months earlier, Mr Johnson had praised Josephine, who had cancelled a party just days before the first shutdown

On Twitter, the PM said that the child had ‘set a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing’

Mr Johnson had praised Josephine, who had cancelled a birthday party just days before the first shutdown

On Twitter, the PM said that the child had ‘set a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing’

Mr Johnson joining a socially distanced lesson during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon on June 19, 2020

Mr Johnson joining a socially distanced lesson during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon on June 19, 2020

They are said to have celebrated his birthday after his return from a visit to a school in Hertfordshire, where he had posed with his arms outstretched with children to show the importance of social distancing.

Advertisement

The broadcaster claims guests included the interior designer Lulu Lytle, who was responsible for a six-figure revamp of the PM’s official flat, who joined in with a chorus of happy birthday as the PM was presented with a Union Jack cake.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is thought to have attended for a short period of time, but sources insisted that he ‘had not been invited’, reports The Times.

ITV News said that picnic food from M&S was eaten during the afternoon gathering lasting for up to 30 minutes, Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s under-fire principal private secretary, was also said to have attended.

Other guests are reported to have included Jack Doyle, the director of communications, and Shelley Williams-Walker, his head of operations.

Advertisement

A spokesman told ITV that the afternoon event was a surprise and he stayed for only 10 minutes. The broadcaster also claimed that there was a separate event later on in the PM’s personal quarters – something denied by No10.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, an expert on Covid rules, said Downing Street’s statement ‘appears a clear admission of an illegal gathering’ and indicated it would have to be probed by the police because it ‘ties the Met’s hands’.

He also noted that it is the first time that No10 ‘has admitted that the PM was at an, to me, obviously illegal gathering with no real prospect of a reasonable excuse’.

In another potential blow to the Prime Minister's authority, ITV News claims he hosted a gathering partly organised by his wife Carrie in the Cabinet Room in No10 (pictured) on June 19, 2020, to celebrate turning 56

In another potential blow to the Prime Minister’s authority, ITV News claims he hosted a gathering partly organised by his wife Carrie in the Cabinet Room in No10 (pictured) on June 19, 2020, to celebrate turning 56

Advertisement
They are said to have celebrated his birthday after his return from a visit to Bovingdon Primary Academy in Hemel Hempstead (pictured)

They are said to have celebrated his birthday after his return from a visit to Bovingdon Primary Academy in Hemel Hempstead (pictured) 

Mr Cummings, pictured outside his London home, has levelled a series of allegations at the PM over Partygate

Mr Cummings, pictured outside his London home, has levelled a series of allegations at the PM over Partygate  

The bombshell comes as Mr Johnson awaits the results of the investigation by Cabinet Office mandarin Sue Gray that could make or break his premiership.

It is understood she was already aware of the birthday party allegations and therefore their emergence will not further delay the publication of her investigation, which is still expected this week.

Advertisement

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson should resign ‘for the good of the country’, adding: ‘This is yet more evidence that we have got a Prime Minister who believes that the rules that he made don’t apply to him.

‘And so we have got a Prime Minister and a government who spend their whole time mopping up sleaze and deceit. Meanwhile millions of people are struggling to pay their bills. We cannot afford to go on with this chaotic, rudderless government.’

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood also condemned the ‘latest twist in which has been quite a horrible series of events’, telling GB News’s Nigel Farage: ‘Very sad to read these latest headlines. The nation is rightly very angry by what’s happened. We’re almost in a holding pattern as we wait for Sue Gray’s report.

‘I’m curious as to whether this was allowed to leak out in the build up to that report or whether she’s going to have to require an extension indeed to include the study of this latest event. This is all a massive distraction from where we should be focusing.

Advertisement

‘There are both domestic issues, huge challenges nationally, but also internationally that require attention. So it’s very sad to see this latest twist in which has been quite horrible series of events rolling out for the last three or four months.’

Downing Street is fighting multiple battles – but will Boris survive? 

The Prime Minister is currently fighting wars on several fronts as he attempts to maintain his premiership. 

Though Sue Gray’s inquiry into ‘partygate’ is believed to have dug up some extremely damning evidence, here are some of the other challenges facing Downing Street which could prove deadly to Boris’ leadership.

Allegations of Islamophobia 

Advertisement

Nusrat Ghani, the first Muslim woman to be elected as a Tory MP in 2015, said she was told by a party whip she was being axed in Feb 2020 because her status as a Muslim woman was ‘making colleagues feel uncomfortable’. 

She also claimed she was told by the whip that she had been fired for saying to Boris Johnson that they had a ‘women problem’, in attracting female voters.

Ms Ghani claimed she raised the issue through official party channels but said she was warned that if she continued to do so, she would be ‘ostracised’ by her colleagues and her ‘career and reputation would be destroyed’.

William Wragg’s allegations of MP blackmail

Advertisement

William Wragg, a backbencher who accused Downing Street of trying to blackmail rebel MPs, said yesterday he would meet police to discuss his allegations. 

Downing Street said it had not seen any proof of the behaviour he alleges, but Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards, said about a dozen Tory MPs alleged whips threatened to withdraw funding for their constituencies should they not show support for Johnson.

Whips have also been accused of heavy-handed attempts to intimidate the rebels with the threat of revealing allegations about their sex lives.

1922 Committee

Advertisement

William Wragg and Nusrat Ghani are joint vice-chairmen of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers. 

The committee’s executive secretary Gary Sambrook has also expressed his desire for a new Tory leader, while treasurer Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown voiced frustration with the PM last year. 

If Johnson were to win a party confidence vote, he would be immune to another leadership challenge for a year – but the committee is considering cutting this immunity period to six months.  

Defectors 

Advertisement

Former Tory MP Christian Wakeford crossed the floor and joined the Labour party last week.

Though defections are rare in Parliament, there are rumours that more Tory MPs may soon follow suit. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Similar Posts