‘We watched in disbelief’: No 10 insiders describe being baffled at Boris Johnson’s denial of parties

Downing Street insiders have claimed they looked at each other in “disbelief” as Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that are rules were followed in No 10.

Speaking to BBC Panorama three individuals described chaotic mid-lockdown parties they felt were condoned by the prime minister as he was “grabbing a glass for himself”.

The current and former staffers said the culture was set by Mr Johnson himself, claiming he “wanted to be liked” and for staff to be able to “let their hair down”.

The damaging details follow the publication of a leaked photograph showing Mr Johnson raising a glass at a leaving drinks event for his former spin doctor – at the height of England’s second lockdown.

Asked about the prime minister’s early claim that all guidance and rules was followed in No 10, one staffer told the BBC: “We were watching it all live and we just sort of looked at each other in disbelief, like why?

“Why is he denying it? When we’ve been with him this entire time, we knew the rules had been broken, we knew these parties happened.”

When one insider was asked whether they felt they had the permission from Mr Johnson to have these events, they told the BBC: “He was there.

“He may have just been popping through on the way to his flat because that’s what would happen,” they added. “You know, he wasn’t there saying this shouldn’t be happening.

“He wasn’t saying, ‘Can everyone break up and go home? Can everyone socially distance? Can everyone put masks on?’ No, he wasn’t telling anybody that. He was grabbing a glass for himself.”

No 10 declined to comment to the BBC, pointing to the imminent publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into rule-busting events in Downing Street and government buildings.

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Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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