Prime Minister-on-the-ropes Boris Johnson is hanging in there, despite what feels like new efforts to destroy him being mounted every 24 hours. The latest “revelation” of Johnson’s COVID-19 lockdown-breaching, law-breaking antics in the so-called “Partygate” pantomime comes from the Daily Mirror, which has published a new photograph of the Prime Minister at a digital quiz event inside Number 10 Downing Street, when such events were against the law in December 2020.
In it, critically, is the Partygate equivalent of a smoking gun: an open bottle of champagne (or other sparkling wine; the brand has yet to be formally identified) to the right of a bald, bespectacled individual wearing tinsel round his neck for bantz. It comes just days after rumours of an image circulating of Johnson holding a can of Stella Artois, at an event he shouldn’t have been attending. More crucially, it also comes after education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said that no rules were broken because there was no alcohol present and the colleagues pictured flanking the prime minister and wearing tinsel “work with him.”
The author of the Mirror “exclusive,” Pippa Crerar described it as a “bombshell image” showing Johnson with that “open bottle of bubbly.” It is unclear what role the visible bottle of alcohol gel played at the quiz, but there has so far been no suggestion that members were using the “bubbly” to sanitise their hands.
EXCL: New bombshell image shows Boris Johnson with open bottle of bubbly at No 10 Christmas quiz https://t.co/2eK8mNvjdu— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) February 9, 2022
Number 10 — the Prime Minister’s official residence, the heart of government — has been found to have been the site of numerous rule-breaching events (many which included wine and often cheese) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson’s own position has oscillated between outright denial, blind ignorance, deflection, obfuscation, and apology as the cache of evidence undermining his innocence has grown much harder to ignore.
He is now the subject of an investigation into numerous rule breaches by the Metropolitan Police, after an interim investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray found that there had been “failures of leadership and judgement”; that events “should not have been allowed to take place”; and that some gatherings were “difficult to justify” when the public was being asked to ”accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives.”
Johnson’s former closest and most important advisor turned bête noir, deli-fan Dominic Cummings can’t help but enjoy the spectacle from the sidelines in his new position as Very Online Twitter user and Substack blogger.
Today, 9 February, he responded to the Mirror’s Crerar: “there’s waaaaay better pics than that floating about, incl in the flat,” referring to alleged illegal events that took place in the actual home of Johnson and wife Carrie.
there's waaaaay better pics than that floating around, incl in the flat— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) February 9, 2022
The plot thiccens.