Boris Johnson grilled on Downing Street garden photo
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Boris Johnson suffered another damning revelation this week after an image of him and over a dozen Downing Street staff “meeting” in No10’s gardens emerged despite not being allowed by the rules at the time. The photo, reportedly took in May 2020, was after a press conference during the first lockdown where mixing was severely limited and working from home rules were in place. Mr Johnson was confronted with the photo during a media interview and bluntly refused to comment on the photo and tried to move the conversation on.
Mr Johnson spoke to reporters to give an update on Covid restrictions following several emergency meetings with advisors.
The Prime Minister refused to introduce further restrictions, suggesting there was not enough data to do so, but would be reviewing the situation “hour by hour”.
But Mr Johnson was then asked whether he could have any authority on introducing and enforcing rules considering his party’s own record.
He was asked by ITV deputy political editor Anushka Asthana: “There is a trust issue here, you’re asking people to be cautious, they see the picture of you sitting in the Downing Street garden drinking wine and eating cheese at a time when you know those were not within the rules.
“They don’t buy that it was a work meeting and there are people on Twitter who say they had funerals of loved ones and they couldn’t have that many people there.
“Do you understand why people are angry and why they might be less likely to do what you say?”
Mr Johnson doubled down on his claim and said the meeting was to do with work.
It was then pointed out the picture did not show laptops or any notes on the table and that wine and cheese was present.
Mr Johnson retorted and said Downing Street was where he lived and worked and had many people around for meetings.
The Prime Minister tried to move on from the questioning and said it was “vital” to focus on the Omicron variant instead and to get more people coming forward for their booster jabs.
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In May 2020, people could only leave home due to a list of essential reasons, such as medical appointments, shopping for food or going to work.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab defended his boss and said the people in the image were having a drink after their meetings.
His claim would mean the staffers would have been breaking Covid rules at the time as they were not working and so had no reason to be out.
But Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie could be exempt because it is their home.
The social distancing of two metres was also advised to curb the spread of the virus.
Concerns grow over the spread of the coronavirus and the Omicron variant with 8,044 cases of the variant reported today.
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The Government revealed there are around 100 people in the hospital infected with the strain.
Mr Johnson explained: “We have got cases of Omicron surging across the country now.
“We have got hospital admissions rising quite steeply in London and the obvious conclusion is that it was right to go fast with Plan B in the way that we did and also right to double the speed of the booster rollout…
“In view of the balance of risks and uncertainties, particularly around the infection, hospitalisation rate of Omicron – how many people does Omicron put in hospital – and some other uncertainties to do with the severity, the effectiveness and so on we agreed that we should keep the data from now on under constant review.”
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