Pictures have emerged of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson raising a glass and appearing to make a toast at a Downing Street leaving party for his former top spin doctor.
The images, revealed by ITV News, were apparently taken at a get-together to mark the departure of Lee Cain, who was the Downing Street director of communications, on Nov. 13, 2020.
Johnson’s ministerial red box is resting on a chair as he addresses staff members while holding a plastic glass in his hand.
The pictures were revealed as senior civil servant Sue Gray prepares to publish her report into partygate.
Cain’s leaving party was one of the gatherings investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
However, the prime minister was only fined for attending a surprise birthday party thrown for him in Number 10 in June 2020.
The four pictures appear to show the prime minister addressing at least seven members of staff in the 10 Downing Street press office.
On a table in front of him are several opened bottles of wine and some snacks.
COVID rules at the time banned parties with people outside of your household.
Eight days earlier, England was placed under another strict lockdown as cases of the virus soared.
The pictures also leave the prime minister open to accusations that he misled parliament.
On Dec. 8 last year, Labour MP Catherine West — a member of the opposition party — asked him: “Will the prime minister tell the house whether there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November?”
Johnson replied: “No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”
A No 10 spokesperson said: “The Cabinet Office and the Met Police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs. The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the Prime Minister will address Parliament in full.”
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “While the British public were making huge sacrifices, Boris Johnson was breaking the law.
“Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he knew nothing about law-breaking – there’s no doubt now, he lied. Boris Johnson made the rules, and then broke them.
“The prime minister has demeaned his office. The British people deserve better. While Labour has a plan for tackling the cost-of-living crisis, Tory MPs are too busy defending the indefensible actions of Boris Johnson.”
Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “People will rightly be furious to see pictures of Johnson drinking at what is an obvious party, when he repeatedly told us that the rules were followed at all times.
“These photos show Boris Johnson has taken the British people for fools. While the public made huge sacrifices, he partied in Number 10.
“It’s becoming clearer than ever that Boris Johnson lied to the British people and to parliament.
“Conservative MPs must do their duty and sack this law-breaking Prime Minister. Every day he remains in office will do more damage to public trust and to our democracy.”