New party gate allegations surrounding Boris Johnson’s wife threaten to derail his premiership just as he desperately tries to get back on track.
Leaked text messages show there was a second meeting at the Prime Minister’s flat in Downing Street during the lockdown his wife held on his birthday.
Carrie Johnson is accused of holding the event on June 19, 2020, which was not mentioned in the Sue Gray Partygate report – leading to cover-up allegations.
Carrie’s spokesman insists Gray has been made aware of the texts, but the Labor Party is calling for an investigation.
Here, HuffPost UK takes you through the new allegations and what could happen next.
What supposedly happened?
The claims center on the prime minister’s birthday, on June 19, 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic when indoor mixing was banned.
Earlier that day, Boris Johnson attended his own surprise birthday party in the cabinet room, complete with sandwiches, cake and booze.
Those in attendance, including Carrie, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister, were all fined £50 for the offence.
Details of the prime minister’s 56th birthday were also detailed in senior official Sue Gray’s report.
However, accusations have since surfaced that the festivities didn’t end there.
According to The Sunday Times, there may be evidence of a second meeting a few hours later involving Carrie at the Downing Street flat and “several friends”.
The event was not investigated by Gray, the paper said, despite her team being made aware of it in January.
The paper alleges that Carrie sent messages by Carrie around 6:15 p.m. that appear to inform her husband, after his aide informed her that the Prime Minister was coming to the residence, that she was in flat No. 11 “with an unspecified number of male friends”.
The Telegraph claims the event was attended by at least two male friends, both special advisers.
The paper claims her text read: “Great. I’m already here with the gays,” an affectionate reference to her gay male friends.
However, Carrie had no formal position in government, so it’s uncertain what the work target might be.
The anonymous aide has reportedly since written to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case informing him of the alleged meeting.
Why didn’t Sue Gray investigate?
The existence of the texts was disclosed to Gray’s investigation in January, according to reports.
The aide declined to forward the messages, but said they were willing to go to the cabinet and show them in person to investigative officials.
The aide also said they agreed to turn them over to the Met Police, who were conducting an investigation.
However, the Cabinet Office has strongly disputed this version of events and sources suggested the person had not offered to bring in the messages. Instead, their email exchange was forwarded to the police as soon as the Operation Hillman investigation began.
A Cabinet Office source told The Telegraph: “The person did not offer to take the messages to the Cabinet Office, so there was no chance for the investigative team to read them.”
The assistant later came back to Gray’s team, but the Cabinet Office said the investigation had been completed by the time she approached them for the second time.
What does Carrie Johnson say?
A spokesperson for Carrie said Gray was aware of the exchanges as part of her extensive investigation into alleged breaches.
“Staff were given ample opportunity to present evidence, including these messages, and all relevant information was passed on to the Metropolitan Police for investigation,” she added.
“The cabinet meeting luncheon on June 19, 2020 was subsequently found to be in violation and, among other things, a fixed fine was imposed on Ms Johnson, for which she apologized unconditionally and promptly paid the fine.”
What does labor say?
Labor is demanding that the prime minister account for his “whereabouts” on his 56th birthday, amid claims he may have attended a second “potentially illegal” meeting that day.
Angela Rayner, the deputy Labor leader, has written to Case calling on him to release correspondence relating to an alleged evening meeting.
She told the head of the government agency: “It is crucial that you now advise the Prime Minister to make clear his involvement in this apparently rule-breaking meeting.
“Given the public interest at stake, I request that you make public his correspondence regarding this event and his whereabouts on the date of Friday, June 19, 2020, and publish the relevant communications you have received, as well as hand over to the Privileges Committee. to consider as part of their investigation.”
Rayner also asked whether Johnson had “informed” Scotland Yard of his attendance at a meeting on the night in question.
She told Case Downing Street had previously been asked about the evening’s birthday claims and labeled them “totally false.”
The senior opposition figure asked who authorized that answer and whether it would be withdrawn because it was itself misleading or incorrect.
Labor’s Lisa Nandy also criticized the drinking culture in issue 10 after the revelations.
What will happen next?
The House of Commons Privileges Committee, which is investigating the Prime Minister for misleading the House of Commons, may decide to open an investigation.
It could mean that Carrie could be called to testify to MPs about this new meeting.
The committee may also decide to watch a so-called “Abba party” on November 13, 2020, when officials claimed to hear songs blaring from the prime minister’s flat, the evening assistants Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain stopped.
Labor MP Chris Bryant, who is on the side as chairman of the committee, told Sky News: “I’m sure the committee wants to follow the evidence wherever it leads.”
According to Chris Mason of the BBC, the committee will be able to request documents and witnesses as part of their work which could last until October.
What does the government say?
Technology Secretary Chris Philp has said it is not “immediately clear” that there should be an investigation into an alleged second event hosted by Carrie.
Asked on Sky News whether the alleged meetings should be investigated, he replied: “I think we’ve now had an incredibly comprehensive set of investigations over a period of nearly six months.
“We obviously published the Sue Gray study last week. And she interviewed, thank goodness, tens or possibly even hundreds of people over the course of her research, checking emails, messages and everything else.
“And we’ve had the Metropolitan Police investigation, which again took several months.
“And they carried that out with full police powers.
“So, after having two separate investigations, including by the police over many months, it’s not immediately clear to me that we need more investigations when this is probably the most… justifiably, most thoroughly investigated set of incidents in the world.” last time.”