So, how many is that now? The revelations by the Telegraph that Downing Street staff partied on the day before Prince Philip's funeral is just the latest in a series of revelations about what went on behind closed doors during the Covid crisis. By Steerpike's count there have been reports of at least *sixteen* parties which allegedly broke Covid restrictions as they changed repeatedly throughout the pandemic. Most of these gatherings were held in No. 10 Downing Street but other Whitehall departments also got in on the act. Below is a timeline of all the alleged soirees, shindigs and not-so-socially distanced jamborees held in SW1 over the past two years...
15 May 2020:
An image was published by the Guardian capturing Boris Johnson, his then fiancée, Carrie, and 15 other people with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard in the Downing Street garden.
20 May 2020
BYOB party, after the PM's Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds emailed more than 100 members of staff. Over 40 people are reported to have attended the gathering to enjoy the 'lovely weather', including Boris and Carrie, with guests told to 'bring your own booze'.
19 June 2020
Carrie Johnson held a surprise birthday party for Boris in the cabinet room, which up to 30 people are reported to have attended. No. 10 deny reports there was a further celebration for the Prime Minister's family friends later that evening.
13 November 2020
Boris and Carrie flat party to mark the departure of comms chief Lee Cain, with reports of 'loud music' and 'the sound of a party' coming from the flat.
25 November 2020
Around 24 Treasury staff working on the Autumn Spending Review are said to have had 'impromptu drinks' in the office after working hours.
27 November 2020
A leaving party was allegedly organised for senior aide Cleo Watson. Sources claimed that Boris Johnson was present and gave a speech.
10 December 2020
Department for Education Christmas party featuring 'drinks and canapes' with then Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said to have given a speech.
14 December 2020
Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey held an 'unauthorised gathering' for 25 Tories in CCHQ.
15 December 2020
Downing Street Christmas quiz: staff were 'huddled' together while conferring on questions and 'knocking back fizz, wine and beer.'
16 December 2020
The Department for Transport Christmas gathering with senior civil servants reported to have been 'boozing and dancing.'
17 December 2020
Cabinet Office Christmas party: a gathering of up to 20 staff was held in the Cabinet Office for a Christmas quiz with invitations titled ‘Christmas party.’
Separately the official who was in charge of writing Covid rules admitted to having a leaving do while indoor socialising was banned. Kate Josephs, the former Director General of the Covid Taskforce, was given a grand send off in the Cabinet Office 'with drinks' for which she subsequently apologised.
18 December 2020
Downing Street Christmas party, with between 40 and 50 people reported to have attended, with speeches, a cheeseboard, wine and secret Santa.
December 2020 – date unknown
Boris Johnson attended a leaving do for his defence adviser in the run-up to Christmas 2020. The Prime Minister gave a speech at an event to mark defence aide Captain Steve Higham’s Downing Street departure, with the Mirror reporting that the PM was 'there for a few minutes.'
December 2020 – date unknown
The Mirror reported there was 'a constant flow of booze' the private office of Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and at one event in the run up to Christmas, Coffey gave presents to her team.
16 April 2021
Two parties were held in No. 10. Boris Johnson's director of communications, James Slack, had his leaving drinks while Johnson’s personal photographer also had a leaving party downstairs in the No. 10 basement. A DJ is reported to have played with one staff member dispatched to Co-Op to buy a suitcase of wine.