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Carrie Johnson 'enjoyed drink with friend' at Downing Street lockdown party

Carrie Johnson 'enjoyed drink with friend' at Downing Street lockdown party

Carrie Johnson shared a drink with a close friend at the illegal Downing Street garden party where 40 people – allegedly including the Prime Minister – washed down sausage rolls and posh crisps with wine and gin while some guests feared being filmed breaking lockdown from the sky.

As 66million Britons were banned from meeting more than one person, the Prime Minister’s wife was said to have spent time with Henry Newman, a former protégé of Michael Gove who worked on Dominic Cummings’ Vote Leave campaign in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

Some of the dozens of guests were said to have been looking to the sky with paranoia in case a drone flew over, while other admitted that the trashed garden after the party ended was also a giveaway.

And amid the paronoia, Downing Street staff were allegedly advised to ‘clean up’ their phones by removing information and pictures that could suggest lockdown parties were regularly held at No 10, according to The Independent. A senior member of staff told people it would be a ‘good idea’ to remove any evidence that might even imply they had attended. 

At 6pm on May 20, 2020, the spring sky was still a deep blue, with the lawn bathed in dappled sunlight. Those entering the garden were reportedly met with a buffet-style spread of crisps and sausage rolls, while the drinks table was stocked with gin and rosé as well as red and white wine. 

Some revellers ‘brought their own booze’ from the claustrophobic Tesco Express store that does a roaring trade in beer, wine and sandwiches next to Westminster Tube station.    

Carrie Johnson was said to be drinking with her friend Henry Newman (pictured together with Dilyn her dog). Mr Newman was an aide to Michael Gove and now a senior aide to the PM in No 10

Snapped: The No 10 garden on May 15, 2020. At the bottom are, from left, Dominic Cummings, Martin Reynolds, the PM and his wife Carrie. Five days later there were more drinks - and all of them are said to have attended again, apart from Cummings

Snapped: The No 10 garden on May 15, 2020. At the bottom are, from left, Dominic Cummings, Martin Reynolds, the PM and his wife Carrie. Five days later there were more drinks – and all of them are said to have attended again, apart from Cummings

, Boris Johnson, Leaves Downing Street to go to Parliament for Prime Minister's Questions on May 20 - the day 40 staffers and friends drank in the No 10 garden

, Boris Johnson, Leaves Downing Street to go to Parliament for Prime Minister’s Questions on May 20 – the day 40 staffers and friends drank in the No 10 garden

However, up to 40 people are believed to have taken up Martin Reynolds’ invitation. They included the Prime Minister and his then fiancée, sources told the BBC. Carrie was said to have been drinking with her friend Mr Newman, then an adviser to Cabinet minister Mr Gove and now a senior figure at No10.

One official is said to have joked about the risk of being filmed by drones, The Times reported. There were also claims of complaints from Downing Street staff about the state of the garden afterwards.

With Britain basking in 80f (27C) sunshine – the hottest day of the year so far – our beaches and parks should have been packed. But this was May 20, 2020, and the Covid lockdown rules could not have been clearer.

Indeed, they were laid out by a Cabinet minister on live TV that very afternoon. Gripping the podium at the daily Downing Street press conference at 5pm, Oliver Dowden told the nation: ‘You can meet one person outside your household in an outdoor public place – provided that you stay two metres apart.’

These were not just the rules, they were the laws of the land. Two hours before Mr Dowden’s TV address, the Metropolitan Police tweeted: ‘Have you been enjoying the hottest day of the year so far? It is important that we all continue to #StayAlert… you can relax, have a picnic, exercise or play sport, as long as you are on your own; with people you live with [or it’s] just you and one other person.’

Yet as the then culture secretary solemnly spoke of the curbs in No10’s wood-panelled briefing room, Downing Street staff were setting out the catering tables just yards away in the garden.

One of the most powerful figures in Whitehall, Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, had called on colleagues to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’ and ‘bring your own booze’.

Five days earlier, the Downing Street garden saw groups of staff sitting in the sun. That deeply controversial gathering – described as a spontaneous ‘work event’ by No10 – was captured on camera from an upstairs window.

The BYOB party that followed was plainly premeditated. Mr Reynolds emailed his invitation to more than 100 employees in No10. The email, leaked to ITV News on Monday, read: ‘Hi all, after what has been an incredibly busy period we thought 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!’

Many stayed away. Messages sent between staff – also revealed for the first time this week – included one from an incredulous worker asking: ‘Is this for real?’ Another wondered: ‘Why is Martin encouraging a mass gathering in the garden?’

The Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 staff to bring their own drinks to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20, 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’, an email leaked to ITV News shows

The Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 staff to bring their own drinks to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20, 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’, an email leaked to ITV News shows 

52831585 10393569 image a 40 1641980335799 | Carrie Johnson 'enjoyed drink with friend' at Downing Street lockdown party | The Paradise News

Mr Reynolds regretted sending the email and became ‘panicky’ afterwards, The Times reported. Yet he is said to have decided against cancelling the event as this would simply draw more attention to the email. 

Sources close to Rishi Sunak have been quick to point out he was not there. Those close to Mr Dowden also said he did not go. 

The day saw 268 Covid deaths across the UK. The vaccine rollout was over six months away.

Mourners were being forced to watch funerals online, with official guidance stating the only people allowed to attend were ‘members of the deceased person’s household and close family members’. Mothers were giving birth without partners. Medical appointments fell victim to hospitals’ struggle to cope with Covid patients.

Photographs from May 20, 2020, show police patrolling a park in London, hunting for rule-breakers. In Edinburgh a group of swimmers couldn’t escape the long arm of the law. No fewer than 807 fixed penalty notices for Covid-related offences were issued in the week of May 15 to 21, according to the National Police Chiefs Council.

It has taken more than a year and half for news of the BYOB garden party to emerge. Who do we have to thank? Step forward Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former aide and now arch enemy.

In a blog published last Friday he encouraged the inquiry into lockdown-busting parties to investigate a gathering on May 20.

Mr Cummings confirmed he had been on the terrace five days earlier, pictured opposite the PM with a glass of wine – and said the other man with them was Mr Reynolds. Within days, the party invitation was leaked – pouring petrol on the fire. The burning question now is: did Boris bring his own booze to the party on May 20? 

Boris Johnson’s litany of lies: the PM’s multiple public and private scandals from lockdown-busting parties and cash for the No10 flat to misleading the Queen, cocaine and multiple affairs

By his own admission, Boris Johnson’s mistakes ‘are too numerous to list in full’.

But as Downing Street is engulfed by yet another lockdown party scandal with the Prime Minister at its heart, even his keenest Tory supporters are in ‘despair’. 

Mr Johnson’s public and private life have been littered with lies, which saw him sacked as a journalist, fired by Tory leader Michael Howard over an affair and eventually thrown out by his wife Marina, who believed he was having an illicit relationship with Carrie Symonds.

He has been accused of lying on numerous occasions including the sensational sacking as Howard’s shadow arts minister for lying about his affair with Spectator journalist Petronella Wyatt.   

His new wife Carrie has also been dragged into the mire, in the mess caused by the couple’s controversial revamp of their Downing Street flat, complete with gold wallpaper, having accused Theresa May of making it a ‘bit of a tip’.  

His own missteps and misinformation has also seen him apologise for a multitude of other errors, including saying Liverpudlians were ‘hooked on grief’ after Hillsborough.

Here is a list of his most infamous lies and controversies:  

Being sacked by Michael Howard for lying about affair with Petronella Wyatt

In 2004, when reports of his affair with Petronella Wyatt were published, Johnson dismissed them as 'an inverted pyramid of piffle'.

In 2004, when reports of his affair with Petronella Wyatt were published, Johnson dismissed them as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’.

Days later her mother revealed the socialite, 35, had an abortion as a result of the relationship. Within hours Johnson, then editor of the Spectator magazine, was sacked as Michael Howard's shadow arts minister

Days later her mother revealed the socialite, 35, had an abortion as a result of the relationship. Within hours Johnson, then editor of the Spectator magazine, was sacked as Michael Howard’s shadow arts minister

In 2004, when reports of his affair with Petronella Wyatt were published, Johnson dismissed them as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’.

His affair with Spectator columnist ‘Petsy,’ daughter of the late Lord Woodrow Wyatt, had been the subject of months of innuendo in gossip columns.

Days later the pyramid toppled over after her mother revealed the socialite, 35, had an abortion as a result of the relationship.

Within hours Johnson, then editor of the Spectator magazine, had been sensationally sacked as Michael Howard’s shadow arts minister for lying.

He has insisted that he never spoke directly to Tory leader Mr Howard – who had initially stood by Johnson – about the affair.

Asked shortly after he was sacked if he had lied to Mr Howard, Johnson claimed: ‘No, I certainly didn’t.’

At the time his friends said he had only spoken to Guy Black, Mr Howard’s press secretary, when a Sunday newspaper first broke the story of the affair.

But Tory officials said: ‘He completely denied it to Guy Black, David MacLean (the Tory chief whip) and the Press. Is he seriously suggesting it was OK to lie to newspapers providing he did not lie to the party leader’s face?’

Boris was asked about it in a notorious interview with Eddie Mair and said: ‘I never had any conversation with Michael Howard about that matter.’ 

Forgetting whether or not he had ever taken cocaine

Boris Johnson has faced repeated questioning over his own drug-taking history in recent years.

The issue burst into life during the 2019 Tory leadership election which he went on to win, after it emerged that Michael Gove – now the Levelling Up Secretary – had taken cocaine.

Mr Johnson has admitted on several occasions to taking the drug at university.

In a 2005 appearance on Have I Got News For You he said he ‘unsuccessfully’ tried to take cocaine ‘a long time ago’ because he had sneezed.

Two years later, in 2007, he told GQ magazine he ‘tried it at university’ and ‘remembered it vividly’, adding: ‘It achieved no pharmacological, psychotropical or any other effect on me whatsoever.’ 

But the remarks came back to haunt him as he sought the keys to number 10 in 2019. Asked about the GQ remarks by the Daily Mail he flailed before saying: ‘I think the canonical account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many, many times.

‘I think what most people in this country want us to focus on is what we can do for them and this great country.’

In the same election campaign he  owned up to cycling on the pavement today as the ‘naughtiest’ thing he would admit to having done.

The Prime Minister, known as a keen cyclist who was mayor of London when the so-called Boris Bikes were introduced, apologised for having ‘not always obeyed the law’ for the leg-powered two-wheeled vehicles.

But pulled up on Sky over whether this was the naughtiest thing that he had ever done he insisted that he was agreeing with a caveat from interviewer Sophy Ridge that it not be something ‘terminally politically damaging’.

His relationship with Jennifer Arcuri 

Jennifer Arcuri has claimed that she and Boris Johnson had four-year affair while he was mayor of London.

Jennifer Arcuri has claimed that she and Boris Johnson had four-year affair while he was mayor of London.

Jennifer Arcuri has claimed that she and Boris Johnson had four-year affair while he was mayor of London.

She stated that she and Mr Johnson, who was Mayor of London at the time, began the affair during his second term in office when he was married to now ex-wife, high-flying barrister Marina Wheeler – with whom he shares two sons and two daughters.

At the time she received thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in grants for her firms. 

In November last year she said he pledged to help her firm in order to ‘win my love’ while he was mayor of London. 

In a diary extract seen by the Observer, she accused Mr Johnson of promising to use his own political power to help US tech entrepreneur while they were in a relationship.

The GLA is investigating her presence at trade missions carried out to boost business for the capital, which she attended events for.

Boris Johnson has never publicly commented on the alleged affair but has said he acted with ‘honesty and integrity’.

Boris on giving an Old Etonian friend a journalist’s address so he could dole out a ‘ couple of black eyes and broke rib’

The attack never happened and Mr Johnson said in 2013 he was just 'humouring' an old acquaintance.

The attack never happened and Mr Johnson said in 2013 he was just ‘humouring’ an old acquaintance.

In the summer of 1990 Johnson was rung by his Eton and Oxford pal Darius Guppy for help in tracking down a journalist. Guppy had arranged to have himself and his business partner in a gemstones company tied up in a New York hotel room to make it look as if they had been robbed of jewels worth £1.8m. They then claimed the cash under their insurance.

When Stuart Collier, a reporter at the News of the World, had begun making inquiries into the affair, Guppy decided to frighten him off and phoned Boris – then a journalist based in Brussels – for Collier’s address.

The 21-minute conversation was secretly taped by accomplice, Peter Risdon, who had turned against Guppy. Asking if he has Collier’s number, Johnson replies: ‘There is a guy at the moment going through his files.’

After Guppy says ‘there is nothing I won’t do to get my revenge’ Johnson asks: ‘Uh, how badly are you going to hurt this guy?’

Guppy says he won’t have his arms broken but adds: ‘He will probably get a couple of black eyes and a cracked rib…but he will get scared.’ Johnson says he has approached four people to trace Collier, only two of whom he trusts. By the end of the conversation, he says: ‘OK, Darry, I said I’ll do it and I’ll do it. Don’t worry.’

The attack never happened and Mr Johnson said in 2013 he was just ‘humouring’ an old acquaintance. 

His former boss at the paper, Max Hastings, wrote in the Daily Mail in 2012: ‘If the day ever comes that Boris Johnson becomes tenant of Downing Street, I shall be among those packing my bags for a new life in Buenos Aires or suchlike, because it means that Britain has abandoned its last pretensions to be a serious country.’

Sacked by The Times after putting words into his godfather’s mouth 

Johnson decided to spice up the story with a reference to gay sex among the royals and then fabricated a comment from an Oxford don, Sir Colin Lucas (left)

Johnson decided to spice up the story with a reference to gay sex among the royals and then fabricated a comment from an Oxford don, Sir Colin Lucas (left)

After graduating from Oxford in 1987, Johnson became a trainee journalist with The Times and was given the job of revealing the discovery of King Edward II’s long-lost palace on the south bank of the Thames in London.

Johnson decided to spice up the story with a reference to gay sex among the royals and then fabricated a comment from an Oxford don, Sir Colin Lucas.

To make matters worse Lucas was Johnson’s godfather and an expert on the French revolution, not medieval England. The quote from Sir Colin claimed that the King ‘had enjoyed a reign of dissolution with his catamite, Piers Gaveston’ in the palace, which was built in 1325.

Gaveston was beheaded in 1312. Johnson’s godfather, exposed to academic ridicule, complained and Boris was sacked. In subsequent interviews Johnson described the incident as his ‘biggest cock-up’.

He insisted he did speak to Lucas but had wrongly attributed his own mistake about Gaveston to him.

‘I was asked to provide detail about Edward II. In desperation, I rang up Colin.

He brilliantly extemporised some stuff about silken-haired youths and Piers Gaveston which I put in.

‘The problem was that the castle had not been constructed while Gaveston was still alive. A lot of whingeing, snivelling, fact-grubbing historians wrote asking sarcastically was this the same Colin Lucas who was an expert on the French revolution.

‘I had applied Colin’s description of life in Edward II’s court to the palace which he did not intend.

Colin showed his ruthlessness in vindicating the accuracy of his remarks.

‘To make it even worse, that very week Colin was trying to become master of Balliol College. He later succeeded – but not that time. Of all the mistakes I’ve made, I think that takes the biscuit.’

He later said: ‘Well, I mean, I mildly sandpapered something somebody said, and yes it’s very embarrassing and I’m very sorry about it.’ 

On Hillsborough

Mr Johnson claimed Liverpudlians were 'hooked on grief'. Some 97 people died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989

Mr Johnson claimed Liverpudlians were ‘hooked on grief’. Some 97 people died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989

In the same opinion column he also blamed drunken fans for contributing to the horrific death toll. The fans were later exonerated completely by an inquest

In the same opinion column he also blamed drunken fans for contributing to the horrific death toll. The fans were later exonerated completely by an inquest

In 2004 Boris Johnson apologised for his ‘outdated stereotype’ of Liverpool as he prepared to visit the city to say sorry for remarks made in his magazine about beheaded hostage Ken Bigley.

He had come under fire over a leader written in The Spectator, which he edits, which claimed Liverpudlians were ‘hooked on grief’.

In the same opinion column he also blamed drunken fans for contributing to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which claimed 96 lives.

In an open letter in the Liverpool Daily Post, Mr Johnson repeated his apologies for the article.

He wrote: ‘I am sorry, too, for the hurt and dismay we have so evidently caused in our description of Liverpool.

‘There may well be Liverpudlians who still answer to the characteristics in question, just as there are all over the country. We should not have generalised.

‘And we should clearly not have blamed drunken fans at the back, when this cause was specifically ruled out by the inquiry report.

‘Anyone, journalist or politician, should say sorry to the people of Liverpool – as I do – for misrepresenting what happened at Hillsborough.

‘I repeat that the leader made a serious point about risk and sentimentality, and the culture of blame, and I stick by it. In so far as it imposed an outdated stereotype on the whole of Liverpool, and thereby caused offence, I sincerely apologise.’

Vote Leave’s battle bus claiming Brexit would save £350million a week for the health service

Vote Leave's claim leaving the EU would save Britain £350million a week that could instead by spent on the NHS was a central campaign message that fuelled the Brexit vote.

Vote Leave’s claim leaving the EU would save Britain £350million a week that could instead by spent on the NHS was a central campaign message that fuelled the Brexit vote.

Boris Johnson was accused of ‘conning’ the public after he reignited an angry row over his claim Brexit will save £350million a week for the NHS. 

Despite critics claiming the figure was made up, Mr Johnson said he believed it was not high enough. 

Then Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson also criticised Mr Johnson over rehabilitating the figure. She branded it a ‘lie’ during the referendum battle in 2016.

Mr Johnson has previously been warned by the statistics watchdog that the figure is wrong because it does not take account of Britain’s rebate from Europe.

Vote Leave’s claim leaving the EU would save Britain £350million a week that could instead by spent on the NHS was a central campaign message that fuelled the Brexit vote.

The UK Statistics Authority issued an official statement in May 2016 describing the claim as ‘misleading’, but Mr Johnson repeated it in an article in the Telegraph in September 2017.  

A spokesman for the now Prime Minister said at the time: ‘I should make it clear that because of the interest in this case that it is absolutely denied by Mr Johnson that he acted in an improper or dishonest manner at any time.’ 

He was also accused of hypocrisy after it emerged his Brexit battle bus he launched this morning was made in Germany and Poland.

The former London Mayor – one of the leading voices in the Vote Leave campaign – kicked off his nationwide tour urging voters to back Brexit in Truro, Cornwall this morning, unveiling the £400,000 giant Vote Leave campaign bus.

But it was immediately branded the ‘Boris blunder bus’ after research found that leaving the EU would slap an extra £56,000 to the cost of that type of vehicle.  

‘I didn’t say anything about Turkey during the Brexit campaign’ 

Ali Kemal Bey (pictured with his first wife Winifred Brun, seated) had an eye for the ladies, according to his grandson Mr Kuneralp, 72, who is a first cousin Boris's father Stanley

Ali Kemal Bey spent time in Britain and married before returning to Turkey. He was Mr Johnson’s great-grandfather

Boris Johnson claimed he did not mention Turkey during the referendum.

He denied being involved in pushing the claim that 80million Turks would come to Britain unless the UK left the EU.

But he had co-signed a letter stating that ‘the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote Leave and take back control’.

He was also quoted as saying: ‘I am very pro-Turkish but what I certainly can’t imagine is a situation in which 77 million of my fellow Turks and those of Turkish origin can come here without any checks at all. That is mad – that won’t work.’ 

His own cousin said at the time: ‘He doesn’t strike me as being very honest’.

Boris and Mr Kuneralp share the same ancestor, the flamboyant Turkish politician – and Anglophile – Ali Kemal Bey who spent time in Britain and married before returning to Turkey. 

Parties at No 10 

Boris Johnson seems unable to give a straight answer on allegations of multiple parties at No 10 throughout national lockdowns.

Boris Johnson seems unable to give a straight answer on allegations of multiple parties at No 10 throughout national lockdowns.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson's decision to swerve the confrontation - emulated by most Tory MPs - 'speaks volumes'.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson’s decision to swerve the confrontation – emulated by most Tory MPs – ‘speaks volumes’.

In highly-charged scenes, MPs including the DUP's Jim Shannon and Labour's Afzal Khan spoke emotionally about their own bereavements during the pandemic and called for clarity on what had happened in No10.

In highly-charged scenes, MPs including the DUP’s Jim Shannon and Labour’s Afzal Khan spoke emotionally about their own bereavements during the pandemic and called for clarity on what had happened in No10.

Boris Johnson seems unable to give a straight answer on allegations of multiple parties at No 10 throughout national lockdowns.

A bombshell email revealed that the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds invited 100 Downing Street staff to the event in the No 10 garden at a time when lockdown rules meant all parties were illegal.

Mr Reynolds encouraged staff to ‘bring your own booze’ and ‘make the most of the lovely weather’ on May 20 2020.

Witnesses said the Prime Minister and his wife Carrie attended the event along with up to 40 officials. 

It also threatened to place Mr Johnson at the centre of the alleged party culture in No 10, which is already being investigated by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray.

The PM yesterday did not deny attending the party, saying only: ‘All that, as you know, is the subject of a proper investigation by Sue Gray.’ Barrister Adam Wagner, an expert on Covid regulations, said that on the basis of what was known, the gathering was ‘unlikely to be legal for attendees’. 

He was branded a ‘serial liar’ by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, while Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said it would be ‘utterly despicable’ if he flouted rules, saying:  ‘The Prime Minister can settle this right now, he can tell people: was he at the party or not?’

The premier stood accused of going into ‘hiding’ after sending a junior minister to field an urgent question in the Commons this afternoon.

In highly charged scenes, MPs including the DUP’s Jim Shannon and Labour’s Afzal Khan spoke emotionally about their own bereavements during the pandemic and called for clarity on what had happened in No10.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson’s decision to swerve the confrontation – emulated by most Tory MPs – ‘speaks volumes’.

Mr Johnson is under growing pressure following a series of allegations of rule-breaking stories that are now being investigated.  

A photograph emerged of Mr Johnson and his wife sitting with No 10 staff including Martin Reynolds on the terrace with a bottle of wine and cheese.

Downing Street has previously insisted that the photograph showed a work meeting.

There was also controversy following footage of No 10 staff laughing and joking about an event on December 19 2020.

In that video, the Prime Minister’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton suggested that there had been ‘no social distancing’ at the event, which staff jokingly referred to as a ‘business meeting’ with ‘cheese and wine’. 

Wallpapergate

Although the PM was yet again cleared of breaking the ministerial code over the 'wallpapergate' scandal by his sleaze watchdog Lord Geidt, he had to make a 'humble and sincere apology' for not giving him the crucial text messages months earlier.

Although the PM was yet again cleared of breaking the ministerial code over the ‘wallpapergate’ scandal by his sleaze watchdog Lord Geidt, he had to make a ‘humble and sincere apology’ for not giving him the crucial text messages months earlier.

Johnson faces sleaze claims after it emerged that he had helped advance a pet project of the Tory donor who paid for the Downing Street flat revamp.

The Prime Minister told Lord Brownlow he was looking into his idea for a new Great Exhibition – and soon afterwards the businessman had a meeting with the Culture Secretary to discuss it.

Mr Johnson mentioned the plan in a previously hidden WhatsApp conversation in which he also asked the peer for more money for the lavish redecoration of the No 11 living quarters – complaining that it was ‘still a bit of a tip’.

Although the PM was yet again cleared of breaking the ministerial code over the ‘wallpapergate’ scandal by his sleaze watchdog Lord Geidt, he had to make a ‘humble and sincere apology’ for not giving him the crucial text messages months earlier.

The revelations about his promotion of the proposed event at the Royal Albert Hall – although it never went ahead – have prompted new accusations of ‘cash for access’.

Mr Johnson and his now-wife Carrie had hired top interior designer Lulu Lytle to transform the ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ left by Theresa May in the PM’s flat, using gold wallpaper costing £840 a roll.

A number of official probes were launched into the secret plans to get a charitable trust, funded by Conservative party donors, to pay for the upkeep of Downing Street including the flat.

Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests Lord Geidt concluded in May that Mr Johnson had acted ‘unwisely’ by not finding out who was behind the renovation, but had not breached the ministerial code.

But his judgment was based on the PM’s assurance that he had not known about the complex funding arrangements for the £112,549 refurbishment until February.

This was undermined last month when a separate Electoral Commission report revealed that Mr Johnson had in fact messaged Lord Brownlow in November 2020.

It prompted Lord Geidt to demand answers as to why he had not been told about the WhatsApp messages or the fact that the political funding watchdog had got hold of them.

In correspondence on the ‘missing exchange’ published by the Cabinet Office, Lord Geidt said it was ‘plainly unsatisfactory’ he had not been given all the relevant messages.

Downing Street’s explanation was that the Prime Minister had to change his mobile phone after gossip newsletter Popbitch revealed that his number was publicly available online.

Misleading the Queen to shut down Parliament

The Prime Minister was accused of misleading the Queen over the prorogation of Parliament after the Supreme Court ruled the move as ‘unlawful’ in 2019.

In a devastating ruling, the 11 justices agreed unanimously that the five-week prorogation in the run-up to Brexit was ‘void and of no effect’.

The judges refused to say if he had lied to the Queen – but many of Johnson’s critics claim the ruling is tacit confirmation that he misled the monarch.

Mr Johnson is said to have called the Queen to personally apologise for embarrassing her after the Supreme Court ruled the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

A Downing Street source said Mr Johnson ‘got on to the Queen as quickly as possible to say how sorry he was’ after the ruling almost three years ago.

But later asked if he had lied to the monarch about his reasons for the suspension of Commons business, he replied: “Absolutely not.” 

Under British law, a crime of disloyalty against the crown is known as high treason.

Regularly thought of as the most serious of offences, the charge is traditionally met with the severest sentencing possible as it is seen as threatening the state.

The usual punishment, up until the 19th century, was to be hung, drawn and quartered.

Denying saying inflation fears were unfounded, after saying it on camera 

Boris Johnson has found himself in hot water over the current cost of living crisis. There are fears that inflation, soaring gas prices and a planned National Insurance hike in April will batter families already struggling to recover from the pandemic.

At Prime Minister’s Questions last week he was grilled on the issue by Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner. She pointed out that he had last year said that fears about raising inflation were ‘unfounded’. 

He fired back that he had not said any such thing. Which might have worked had he not said it in a recorded television interview that was still available online.

A Sky News clip from October showed him saying: ‘People have been worrying about inflation for a very long time… and those fears have been unfounded.’ 

His supporters suggested he was pointing out that he as saying that inflation had not started to rise at that time.

But it is something very much on the horizon now. 

Shortly after Christmas a report warned families face a ‘cost of living catastrophe’ next year thanks to soaring energy bills, tax increases and the highest inflation in 30 years.

It predicted that 2022 will be the ‘year of the squeeze’, with households facing a hit of at least £1,200.

With inflation projected to reach 6 per cent in spring, wages next Christmas could be no higher in real terms than they are today, the study by the Resolution Foundation think-tank forecast.

Meanwhile, it said rising gas prices could add at least £600 to family budgets when the energy price cap is reviewed in spring.

On top of this, households face higher taxes from April when National Insurance goes up by 1.25 percentage points to fund the NHS and social care – a rise that will affect middle-income earners more.

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