Boris Johnson ‘says he didn’t break lockdown law by being at wife Carrie’s ‘Abba party’ because he was there to interview one of her best friends for a job’
- Boris Johnson ‘offered defence’ for attending ‘Abba party’ on November 13, 2020
- The Met is investigating whether a ‘Abba party’ took place in No 11 on that night
- PM claimed he was interviewing one of his wife’s friends in another part of flat
Boris Johnson says he did not break the law by attending wife Carrie’s Abba party because he was there to interview one of her best friends for a job, it has been claimed.
The Prime Minister is said to have invited Harry Newman to join him in his No 11 flat, where he lives with Carrie and his two children, on November 13, 2020.
The Met is investigating whether a party took place in No 11 on that night to mark the departure of Johnson’s former advisers Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain.
They are looking into claims that the party was organised by Carrie with Abba songs played.
Mr Johnson previously told MPs he was working and now a government source said he also claimed he was interviewing Newman, who was then an advisor to Michael Gove, in another part of the flat.
According to the Times, Mr Johnson said he invited Newman to the flat to distance themselves from leaving drinks that were being held for Lee Cain.
The Prime Minister is said to have given a toast and short speech at the leaving drinks, which are also being investigated.
Newman is a close friend of Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie, who has previously referred to him as one of her ‘favourite people’ and her political ‘bestie’. He is believed to be a regular visitor to No 11.
Boris Johnson previously told MPs he was working and now a government source said he also claimed he was interviewing Newman, who was then an advisor to Michael Gove, in another part of the flat
The Prime Minister is said to have invited Harry Newman to join him in his No 11 flat
He was eventually made an advisor to the Prime Minister before leaving in February in the wake of the partygate scandal.
Newman was previously blamed by Dominic Cummings for leaking plans of a second lockdown to the media in 2020.
Boris Johnson last week expressed frustration that the row over Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street might ‘endlessly go on’.
But the Prime Minister will now seemingly have to brace himself for the possibility of the Metropolitan Police probe lasting for much more of this year.
It has been reported that officers are yet to begin issuing questionnaires for one of the events they are investigating – a leaving do to mark the departure of his former spin chief Lee Cain.
Mr Johnson has previously been claimed to have made a leaving speech for his outgoing director of communications in November 2020, with a number of people gathered.
However, there is claimed to be increasing confidence inside Number 10 that the PM will escape an immediate second police fine related to a ‘bring your own booze’ event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020.
The Met Police began their criminal investigation into Partygate at the end of January, with the PM receiving a questionnaire more than two weeks later.
More than a month after that, Mr Johnson confirmed he had received a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) over his 56th birthday bash in Number 10 in June 2020.
Boris Johnson has expressed frustration that the row over Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street might ‘endlessly go on’
Allies of the PM are confident he will escape a second Fixed Penalty Notice over a ‘bring your own booze’ event held in the Downing Street garden in May 2020
Should that timescale be repeated for each alleged event – and with Scotland Yard yet to begin substantive work on the November 2020 leaving event for Mr Cain – it raises the possibility of their Partygate inquiry dragging on for many more months.
That could increase the conviction among Conservative MPs, who are weary with having to answer questions about the Partygate row and Mr Johnson’s future, that the PM must go.
Mr Johnson is alleged to have attended six of the events being investigated as part of Scotland Yard’s Operation Hillman.
Allies of the PM expressed confidence he might escape an immediate fresh blow in the scandal that has threatened his future in Number 10.
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