Five key questions about parties in Downing Street to be answered while Boris Johnson fights for the future



What was Boris Johnson’s role in any Downing Street party?

The Prime Minister has consistently insisted that he knew nothing about the alleged Christmas parties were held in the house where he lives and works, suggesting that if the events took place, he was not personally involved. But now eyewitnesses, including Dominic Cummings, claim that Mr Johnson attended the drinks held on 20 May 2020 – which would revoke his previous apology.

Who would have the authority to host drinks in the garden?

In principle, the Prime Minister has total power over No. 10, which is not structured like other government ministries, but instead is the personal office of the leader. It’s possible Martin Reynolds, one of its most senior officials, got the delegated authority to hold events there without its boss’s permission, but Downing Street spokesmen have so far declined to clarify whether this was the case.

Did they break the law?

At the time of the drinks party, it was illegal in England for groups of more than two people from different households to meet indoors or outdoors unless they had a substantial reason to do so. In this case, the only possible excuse could be work – but it is not clear why it should have been necessary to gather in the garden with alcohol for staff to carry out their work.

Who is delicious?

Since the end of November has one series of revelations about alleged parties has appeared in the media, primarily ITV News and Labor Supporters Daily Mirror. It is clear that one or more Downing Street insiders (or former insiders) are out to harm the government, but their identity has been a closely guarded secret. Sir. Cummings is eager to overthrow the prime minister and has shared some information about parties, but that is unlikely to be the source of the media leak.

Who can end up paying the price?

Johnson’s former spokeswoman Allegra Stratton has already resigned, and Mr Reynolds is seen as almost certain of losing his job – although Downing Street admits the prime minister has “full confidence” in him.

Other officials may be subject to further disciplinary action under the supervision of senior mandarins. But if the Prime Minister turns out to have broken the rules, no authority has the power to take action against him – unless Conservative MPs trigger a no-confidence motion.

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