Boris Johnson had a birthday party during the first lockdown in 2020, according to a report by ITV News.
Around 30 people were said to have attended a surprise party, allegedly organised by Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie, on June 19 when social distancing rules outlawed indoor social gatherings.
The event, during which Ms Johnson and Lulu Lytle are believed to have presented the prime minister with a cake, reportedly took place in the Cabinet Room at No 10, after the prime minister returned from an official visit to a school in Hertfordshire.
Attendees are unterstood to have eaten picnic food from M&S at the gathering, which repotedly lasted for around 20-30 minutes.
Downing Street said staff only “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room after a meeting.
A No 10 spokeswoman said: “A group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the Prime Minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than ten minutes.”
ITV also reports that family friends were hosted upstairs in the prime minister’s residence later that evening, which Downing Street denies.
The spokeswoman added: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”
Sir Keir Starmer said the latest revelations were “yet more evidence that we have got a Prime Minister who believes that the rules that he made don’t apply to him”.
“The Prime Minister is a national distraction and he’s got to go,” the Labour leader added.
SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford has also come out after the news emerged.
He said: “Boris Johnson’s conduct has been a disgrace. It is clear the prime minister repeatedly broke the rules and lied about it.
“He is unfit for office and he has to go.
“Tory MPs must remove him without further delay. The longer they wait, the more damage they do to any remaining public trust in the UK government and broken Westminster system.
Boris Johnson’s conduct has been a disgrace.
It is clear the Prime Minister repeatedly broke the rules and lied about it. He is unfit for office and he has to go.
— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) January 24, 2022
“This is now a question of their own integrity. There simply cannot be one rule for the most powerful people in the Tory government and another for the rest of us. This has to end.”
It came as senior civil servant Sue Gray was working on her inquiry into a series of claims of rule-breaking parties in No 10.
With the Prime Minister facing calls to resign from some of his own Tory MPs, the fresh allegations will present a further challenge to his bid to hold on to power.
Ms Gray’s inquiry, which could prove pivotal for the Prime Minister’s political survival, is expected to be published this week.
It was not immediately clear whether the latest allegations will further delay its publication, or whether the official had already been aware of it.
Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s under-fire principal private secretary, was also said to have attended.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, a staunch ally of Mr Johnson, questioned whether the gathering would have broken the rules in place at the time.
“So, when people in an office buy a cake in the middle of the afternoon for someone else they are working in the office with and stop for ten minutes to sing happy birthday and then go back to their desks, this is now called a party?” she tweeted.
So, when people in an office buy a cake in the middle of the afternoon for someone else they are working in the office with and stop for ten minutes to sing happy birthday and then go back to their desks, this is now called a party?
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) January 24, 2022
Social gatherings indoors were forbidden under lockdown laws at the time, with a relaxation of the regulations permitting gatherings of up to six people to take place outside.
ITV News said that picnic food from M&S was eaten during the afternoon gathering lasting for up to 30 minutes, while Mrs Johnson and Ms Lytle presented the PM with a cake.
At the time, Ms Lytle was renovating Boris Johnson’s flat in Downing Street.
A spokeswoman for Soane Britain, the luxury designer co-founded by Ms Lytle, said: “Lulu was present in Downing Street on June 19 working on the refurbishment.
“Lulu was not invited to any birthday celebrations for the Prime Minister as a guest.
“Lulu entered the Cabinet Room briefly as requested, while waiting to speak with the Prime Minister.”