“The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at such a critical moment.”

Boris Johnson, Twitter

November 8, 2020

Facts

This statement was made just a few days before Boris Johnson was pictured raising a glass at a “leaving speech and drinks” on November 13th 2020.

On 5 November 2020, a second national lockdown was introduced which required people to stay at home and prohibited indoor gatherings of two or more people from other households except for permitted exceptions, including where the “gathering is reasonably necessary … for work purposes”. Social distancing remained the rule at work, with guidance on working safely in offices saying “you must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible”

According to the Sue Gray report into Downing Street parties: “On 13 November 2020 it was publicly announced that two of the Prime Minister’s most senior advisers, Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, would leave government. There was a leaving speech and drinks in No 10 for Lee Cain later that day, which the Prime Minister attended.”

The report goes on to detail another event that Boris Johnson attended later that evening at the No 10 flat. The Sue Gray report details the following “Following the announcement of the departure of Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, a meeting was held in the No 10 flat from some time after 18.00 to discuss the handling of their departure. Five special advisers attended. The Prime Minister joined them at about 20.00. Food and alcohol were available. The discussion carried on later into the evening with attendees leaving at various points.”

On 19 May 2022 the Metropolitan Police concluded their investigation and found that one or more events that took place on 13 November 2020 broke Covid-19 regulations. Because the Metropolitan Police did not specify the exact events that broke regulations and only provided the dates it is not clear what specific event they are referring to. However, Boris Johnson attended both events on 13 November 2020.

Verdict

Johnson urged the British people to behave in a responsible way when his actions showed that he had no intention of doing it himself. 

We approached Boris Johnson's office, No10 Press Office and the Cabinet Office to give them a chance to comment, but received no response.

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