No10 refuses 7 times to deny new Carrie Johnson claims about ‘shallow party’ – full transcript

Boris Johnson’s spokesman has refused seven times today to deny claims of a SECOND ‘party’ at the Downing Street flat.

Neither the Prime Minister’s team nor a spokeswoman for Carrie Johnson denied she was with friends on the Prime Minister’s birthday on June 19, 2020 – following the cake collection that netted him a £50 fine.

At the time, the law banned indoor social gatherings between people from different households.

Unlike another event at the flat five months later, the gathering was not included in Sue Gray’s bombshell report of lockdown busting parties at Downing Street.

An alleged “Abba party” was held at the flat on November 13, 2020, but Sue Gray ruled it was “not appropriate or proportionate” to investigate after Scotland Yard failed to issue any fines.

Boris Johnson said it was a working meeting, but claims later surfaced – and have not been denied – that an original Gray draft, which said music was coming from the flat and indicated when the meeting ended, had been watered down.

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Now Ms Johnson is faced with claims from another gathering on the evening of June 19, 2020 – which was not included in the Gray report.

Civil Service chief Simon Case was briefed on news that suggested the May 19 gathering would be canceled. The Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said a staff member sent her a message at 6.15pm that the Prime Minister was returning to the flat. She reportedly responded and suggested hanging out with male friends, referring to them with a “very specific” and “affectionate” term.

When ITV News first reported allegations of this flat gathering in January, a spokesman for No10 said it was “completely false”.

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But yesterday a spokeswoman for Ms Johnson did not deny a gathering took place and refused to say what species it was.

And today Boris Johnson’s deputy official spokesman refused on at least seven occasions to deny the gathering.

The Commons Privileges Committee could now demand the news be turned over to its inquiry into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament about Partygate. It could even summon Ms Johnson to testify – although it could do so privately.

It’s understood the committee won’t get a new chair for about two weeks, after Labor’s Chris Bryant pulled out of the inquiry. Insiders believe their report on whether the prime minister lied is not expected until October at the earliest.

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson with their daughter Romy in No 10 (stock photo)



The Prime Minister’s deputy spokesman said Sue Gray would have investigated the matter if there had been a “credible allegation” because the mandate of her report allowed her to look beyond the 16 assemblies she had stated.

But asked several times to deny the assembly, he refused.

And a spokesman for Ms Johnson said: “As the Sunday Times acknowledges, Sue Gray was aware of these exchanges as part of her full investigation into alleged violations.

“Staff have had ample opportunity to provide evidence including this news and all relevant information has been forwarded to the Metropolitan Police for investigation.”

Labor wrote to Civil Service Chief Simon Case last night asking him to release correspondence regarding Mr Johnson’s “whereabouts” that evening.

Here’s the back and forth with No10 in all its tantalizing detail.

The exchange with 10 Downing Street in full

JOURNALIST: When you were previously asked about the alleged gathering at Flat No. 11 on the evening of the Prime Minister’s birthday in June 2020, I don’t think you actually denied that the gathering took place. are you

DEPUTY OFFICIAL SPOKESMAN FOR PM: I draw your attention to Sue Gray’s report detailing all the events she has investigated and the fact that the information she received was passed to the Met Police, the Met Police the made the decision not to issue any fines related to the event, and Sue Gray explained in the report why she did not investigate further.

But that was a different event, that was the November 2020 event on the night of Cummings’ resignation…

Sorry if I messed up the events…

It was claimed over the weekend that there was also an event at the Downing Street flat on the evening of the Prime Minister’s birthday, after the birthday cake in the Cabinet Room.

Well, as I said, the brief that Sue Gray set for her report was to look at other meetings where there were credible allegations and have them covered in the overall findings of the final report.

So all we know is that at the time Sue Gray produced her report, there wasn’t a credible allegation — you’re not saying it didn’t happen, you’re not denying the gathering happened, just that it did no gave credible accusation?

I point out the process Sue Gray followed in preparing her report and job description.

You’re not denying there was an event it sounds like?

Well, I’ve seen the same coverage as you, but I also think this is covered by the terms of reference in Sue Gray’s report, where she clearly states that all other gatherings that were credible and at which she received credible allegations would be examined. I said earlier that Downing Street was given clear instructions to retain all relevant information and to fully cooperate with the investigation.

So you’re saying you saw the report over the weekend and now you can’t tell us that this event didn’t happen? Are you able to tell us just what the Sue Gray report was asking for a few months ago before this information came out?

I’ve seen the reporting, I obviously don’t know the details of the allegation. But I refer again to Sue Grey’s report which clearly stated that they were able to look at other gatherings where there was credible evidence.

It just seems strange that after seeing the report you cannot tell us whether it is true or not, or no one has told you whether it is true or not, and now you are unable to to deny it. It seems strange.

I am merely pointing out the process that Sue Gray’s investigation followed and the fact that any other investigation or evidence for gatherings where there was credible evidence would be covered by the general findings. I think that is clearly regulated in the service descriptions.

Given where we are – you are the Prime Minister’s official spokesman – can you go back and get a definitive answer as to whether or not you deny these allegations? Given last week [when the PM’s spokesman apologised for misleading the press previously over Partygate]and the relationship between the press and No10, I think you should go back and ask that question.

Again, I can only point out the investigation that Sue Gray conducted and the fact that Downing Street was asked to provide full details and retain all relevant information and the fact that Sue Gray said she would investigate all events, where there were credible allegations.

They invite us to go out and write that the Prime Minister does not deny these allegations.

All I can do is refer to Sue Gray’s report that looked into these events and the guidance we gave to staff was to ensure that all evidence is retained and forwarded to the investigative team. I’m not privy to the details of the investigation, of course, which was independently conducted by Sue Gray, but she resubmitted and released her final findings last week.

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Continue reading No10 refuses 7 times to deny new Carrie Johnson claims about 'shallow party' - full transcript

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