Now the deluge: details of #BorisJohnson #DowningStreetParty events are flying

Flagrant: Boris Johnson asked quiz questions from a TV screen – but flanked by Downing Street staff in breach of Tier 2 regulations that were in force at the time.

We’re having the party now, it seems.

Even as we were all discussing whether the controversy over Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat redecoration would eclipse the scandal over the Downing Street Christmas party (or parties), the drip-feed of new information pattered on. There was this:

And there was this:

(I included the image because it’s both funny and vile in equal measure.)

And then there’s this, which actually blends both of the above:

Boris Johnson was tonight accused of personally breaking Covid laws by hosting a Christmas quiz in No10 last year.

It was December 15 – three days before a gathering now being probed – and the PM was flanked by two members of his top team, although they were not drinking. One was wearing a Santa hat and the other draped in tinsel.

London was then under Tier 2 regulations banning any social mixing between households – which Mr Johnson appeared to have breached by mixing with the aides.

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.”

The Mirror understands staff were invited to the virtual quiz, raising funds for charity, a couple of weeks earlier.

Our source claimed dozens signed up to take part online but that at 6.30pm on the day many staff decided to take part from No10 instead.

[The] source said many staff huddled by computers, conferring on questions and knocking back fizz, wine and beer from a local Tesco Metro.

In one office, the insider said, there were four teams, each made up of six people.

Sources said the quiz finished at around 9pm, but staff stayed on for two hours or so drinking and chatting. Most stayed in their offices, but a few allegedly moved around the building to mingle with colleagues in a further apparent breach of the rules.

A Downing Street spokesman has tried to whitewash the new revelation by saying it was only a “virtual” quiz – but that doesn’t get Johnson off the hook of breaking Covid-19 regulations that were in place at the time.

Nor does the claim that Downing Street staff were there because they were working late – they could either work or take part in the quiz and it seems clear that they were engaged in the social activity instead. Whether they attended virtually, from their desks, is irrelevant if there were six people clustered around each desk.

Of course, it’s possible the spokesman could have been at that gathering himself, in which case we don’t have any reason to trust what he says.

And some of us thought this was bad:

Or, indeed, this:

One has to question whether the Met Police will have enough evidence to investigate now. I’m guessing the answer will still be no because “We don’t investigate retrospective breaches” – even though breaches by the prime minister should be an exception to any such guideline because of the poor example it sets and the consequent risk to public health.

The Met is already facing possible legal action over its refusal to shift its collective posterior, anyway:

And at the back of all this, but ever-present in the minds of Tory MPs (one would hope) is the fact that the Conservative Party is creeping lower and lower in the national opinion polls…

… and Johnson’s personal popularity, already lower than it had ever been, has dropped even further:

The question now is, how long will the Conservative Party allow its name to be dragged through the mud by a man who, in the words of the former Commons Speaker, “stinks in the nostrils of decent people”?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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