The question of Downing Street’s adherence to coronavirus laws is again in the spotlight following claims about gatherings on Boris Johnson’s birthday in 2020.
No 10 has conceded staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room on the afternoon of June 19 2020, with reports suggesting they shared cake and sang “happy birthday” to the Prime Minister, despite social mixing indoors being banned.
Downing Street denied claims that family and friends were later gathered upstairs in Mr Johnson’s flat to further celebrate the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday, insisting a “small number” of people were hosted outside, in line with the regulations.
These are the relevant rules that were in force in England on June 19 2020:
– England was coming out of the first national lockdown, which had been imposed in March.
– Groups of up to six people were able to meet outdoors in England from Monday June 1, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces, provided strict social distancing guidelines were followed.
– People from different households were told to stay two metres apart and not to spend time inside others’ homes other than to get to the garden or use the toilet.
– Indoor gatherings remained against the law, but there were exemptions “if reasonably necessary” for work purposes.