New photos have been published of Prime Minister Boris Johnson drinking at a farewell party at his Downing Street residence, fueling opposition allegations that he has violated his own COVID-19 lockdown rules.
The photos, obtained by ITV News, were taken at a meeting honoring the outgoing Downing Street communications director, Lee Cain, in November 2020, an event previously investigated by police for possible breaches of the law.
Monday’s photos show Johnson giving a speech and making a toast, with half a glass in his hands, ITV said.
At the time, large gatherings with people outside your own household were banned after England was put back into a national lockdown due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Reuters could not independently verify when and where the photos were taken. Johnson’s office has said police had access to all information during their investigation, including photos.
Johnson was not fined for participating in the November 2020 event, although he was fined a fixed fine for a gathering in Downing Street to mark his birthday in June of that year, an event he said lasted no more than 10 minutes. .
He has apologized for what he called a mistake but declined to resign over the matter.
Metropolitan police referred to a statement announcing the end of her investigation last week when asked if she had known about Cain leaving party photos during the investigation.
The Cabinet Office, which conducted a separate government inquiry into the parties, declined to comment.
The government is expected to release a much-anticipated report by senior official Sue Gray this week on the events held at Johnson’s Downing Street office during the coronavirus lockdown. Police have handed out 126 fines related to the parties.
The report, which is expected to detail some events not investigated by police, could spark more criticism of the British leader, who has been under pressure for months over several scandals and turning points.
The new photos appear to undermine some of Johnson’s previous statements. When asked in parliament in December about reports of a party at his home the previous month, Johnson said he was confident “the rules were followed at all times”.
Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, accused Johnson of lying.
“Boris Johnson repeatedly said he knew nothing about breaking the law — there’s no question now, he lied,” Rayner said. “Johnson made the rules and then broke them.”