"You can meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor, public place, provided you stay 2m apart."

Oliver Dowden, Coronavirus Press Briefing

May 20, 2020

Facts

Oliver Dowden, then Culture Secretary,  reiterated the coronavirus rules at the daily press briefing on May 20th 2020. But less than an hour later, Downing Street staff gathered in the Number 10 garden for a drinks party, to "make the most of the lovely weather".

An email seen by ITV News showed Mr Johnson's Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds telling over 100 Number 10 employees to "bring your own booze". Around 40 staff, including Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson, gathered in the garden eating picnic food and drinking alcohol.

The email invitation from Mr Reynolds said: "Hi all, After what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!"

Verdict

Oliver Dowden’s clear statement of the rules was ignored by members of his own government. It applied only to members of the general public, and not to the Prime Minister and his colleagues.

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