July 14, 2024

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Boris Johnson Pictured Hosting No 10 Christmas Quiz Last Year

Boris Johnson is facing further questions over whether he breached Covid laws after pictures emerged of him hosting a Christmas quiz in Downing Street while London was under tier 2 restrictions.

The prime minister was pictured on a screen reading out questions while staff sat behind computers and conferred on the answers. London was then under restrictions banning any social mixing between households.

Official guidance also stated: “You must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier.” A source said that in one office there were four teams, each comprising six people.

Dozens of staff are understood to have signed up to participate in the quiz online but at 6.30pm that day many decided to take part from No 10 instead. Teams from the prime minister’s private office, the policy unit and press office are understood to have been among those taking part.

The quiz took place on 15 December, three days before an alleged Christmas party at Downing Street which is currently being investigated by the cabinet secretary, Simon Case.

In response to the latest allegations, a No 10 spokesperson said: “This was a virtual quiz. Downing Street staff were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks.

“The prime minister briefly took part virtually in a quiz to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year.”

Case is also investigating an alleged leaving do for an aide, Cleo Watson, on 27 November at No 10 and “thank you” drinks for staff working in the then education secretary Gavin Williamson’s department on 10 December.

It comes after the prime minister’s former adviser, Dominic Cummings, claimed on Friday that photos could come to light proving such gatherings were held.

On the day that Cummings dramatically left his job in Downing Street in November last year, blaring music and aides chatting were heard in the No 11 residence where Johnson lives with his wife, Carrie, sources said.

Sources revealed that a “wine and pizza” party attended by Tory advisers was held in Downing Street after a Covid press conference during the first lockdown, in spring 2020.

No 10 said the prime minister was in his flat “solely with his family” on the evening in question and the spokesperson denied knowledge of any gathering.