British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former top aide, Dominic Cummings, said that the U.K. leader knew about a party at his residence during the lockdown, and “waved aside” concerns about it, according to a report by the BBC.
Cummings reportedly said that Johnson’s claim that he believed that the gathering in May 2020 was a work-related event is “untrue” and that he was “warned about” the garden party, which has resulted in calls for the prime minister to resign.
The former top aide, who worked with Johnson at the time of the event, also said Johnson “knew he was at a drinks party ’cause he was told it was a drinks party, and it was actually a drinks party,” according to the BBC.
Cummings added that “the PM lied to Parliament about parties.”
The BBC notes that Cummings alleged that Johnson’s top secretary, Martin Reynolds, had sent out an email to 100 staff members, inviting them for “socially distanced drinks in the No. 10 garden,” but “a very senior official replied by email saying the invite broke the rules. The [top secretary] went to the official’s office where they discussed it. The [top secretary] declined to withdraw the invite. I told the [top secretary] the invite broke the rules.”
A spokesperson for the prime minister’s office countered the former top aide’s claim.
“As [Johnson] said earlier this week, he believed implicitly that this was a work event. He has apologized to the House and is committed to making a further statement once the investigation concludes,” said the spokesperson, according to the British network.
Johnson said in his apology last week that he went to the Downing Street garden party for about 25 minutes and thanked the staff for their hard work.