According to new revelations, staff at the British Prime Minister’s residence held ‘wine-time Fridays’ during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Calls are mounting for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after more revelations came to light about regular parties being staged in Downing Street violating the COVID-19 lockdown rules, with Labor leader Keir Starmer said Johnson was “unable to lead”.
The British Prime Minister witnessed weekly ‘wine-time Friday’ drinking sessions by his staff during the coronavirus pandemic, for which they installed a specially purchased wine fridge, according to a new report from the Daily Mirror newspaper.
The report in the British newspaper rules out a scorching week of revelations about lockdown violations in Downing Street, forcing Johnson’s office to apologize to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday.
On Wednesday, Johnson apologized to parliament for attending what he called a “work event” at a time when social mixing was banned.
The IV feeding threatens to overshadow Johnson’s reported plans to relaunch his controversial premiership, starting with an easing of lingering pandemic restrictions later in the month.
Whether Johnson and his staff knowingly broke the law during previous lockdowns is the central question being answered in an investigation by senior official Sue Gray, who could report next week.
Gray is said to have been “completely taken aback” by the latest revelations, the Times reported.
‘Friday with the wine’
The Daily Mirror published a photo of the wine fridge delivered to a back door in Downing Street in December 2020, and said staff would regularly fill it with suitcases full of alcohol.
“Wine-time Fridays” were scheduled in the electronic calendars of about 50 employees at number 10, a clear violation of a ban on socializing indoors during the pandemic, it reported.
Johnson often stopped by for a chat at the end of the workday, the paper said, citing a source: “The idea that he didn’t know there were drinks is complete nonsense.
“When the Prime Minister tells you to ‘let off steam,’ he is actually saying this is fine,” the source added.
Witnesses told the Telegraph newspaper that alcohol was being consumed and guests were dancing to music, with a person carrying a suitcase being sent to a local store to buy wine.
In response, a Downing Street spokeswoman said the government was awaiting Gray’s inquiry “to establish the facts surrounding the nature of gatherings” during the pandemic. “The findings will be made public in due course,” she added.
We rented 100 Boris Johnson’s and threw a party outside Downing Street…
The main channel will be BACK early next week. pic.twitter.com/Pc9iNBrBGk
– Jack (@Jaack) January 14, 2022
Nadim Baba of Al Jazeera, reporting from Downing Street, said many citizens ridiculed the prime minister for the excuses given for organizing the parties.
“There is anger from the general public directed at the Conservative Party,” he said.
“We hear that more and more loyal conservative members have been sending angry emails to MPs, with some even renouncing their party membership,” Baba said.
“A poll released Friday put the main opposition Labor party at 42 percent, 10 points ahead of the Conservative Party.”
Protest in Downing Street
On Friday, people wearing Johnson masks danced in Downing Street, calling on the prime minister to resign.
Two celebrations were held in April 2021 as the Queen prepared to bury Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years. Downing Street apologized to Buckingham Palace, calling them “deeply regrettable”.
At least five Conservative Party MPs say they have filed letters demanding a vote of no confidence in Johnson, but he plans to launch “Operation Save Big Dog” to save his leadership, according to reports.
Johnson’s allies praised his achievements in office, including his delivery of Britain’s Brexit withdrawal from the European Union. The Independent newspaper said it will oversee a clearing of top staff.
But the opposition Labor party, which has risen in the polls since the ‘partygate’ revelations emerged last month, said Johnson was unfit for office.
Labor leader Keir Starmer said the country witnessed the fractured spectacle of a prime minister sunk in deceit and deceit, adding that Johnson was “incapable of leading”.