Office parties are a thorny issue: some people are wary of socialising with their colleagues, and etiquette columns are often devoted to reminding employees not to chug too much box wine at the year-end function before drunkenly trying to snog the boss. 😂 In the first months of the Covid pandemic, though, parties were nowhere near top of mind as many countries locked down amid rising cases and deaths. But it seems not even a pandemic could keep staff at London’s 10 Downing Street – the Prime Minister’s residence and executive office – from letting their hair down. News broke late last year about a May 2020 party in Downing Street’s garden, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson dodged the heat until more details emerged this week; yesterday he admitted during a routine parliamentary question session that he had attended the event. He apologised, but added that he’d thought it was a work event, not a party. We’ve all made that mistake…right? 😏
The incident, along with other parties allegedly hosted by members of the governing Conservative Party in breach of lockdown rules, is being investigated by Sue Gray, a civil servant. She’s the second person tasked with this investigation: the first resigned in December after it emerged that one of the parties he was meant to scrutinise was held in, we swear we’re not making this up, his own office. 👀 Ordinary Brits are furious at their leaders’ hypocrisy, with many taking to Twitter to share how they’d been forced by lockdown rules to bid dying relatives farewell via iPad while those in power allegedly toasted each other at garden parties. It’s not clear whether heads will roll; Johnson used his appearance before Parliament to argue that Gray should be allowed to finish her investigation, but even Conservative voters and newspapers usually sympathetic to the party seem gatvol. We hope the wine was worth it, Boris.😪
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 13 January 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.