Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has blasted the UK government for holding a drinks event in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown, declaring, “what tf were any of these people thinking?”
The prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, sent an email to over 100 employees at Downing Street, inviting them to a gathering in Number 10’s garden during the first lockdown, according to an email reported by ITV News.
The message to staff, marked “OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE-No10 ONLY,” was titled “Socially Distanced Drinks” and urged people to arrive from 6pm and “bring your own booze.” It is believed that around 40 staff ultimately attended the event that evening, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, showing up, according to eyewitness reports.
The gathering’s start time came less than an hour after the UK’s then-culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, used a televised press conference to tell people to avoid gatherings and reduce contacts to meeting only one person outside their household outdoors.
The party, on May 20, 2020, came during the first UK nationwide lockdown. The rules were relaxed slightly 12 days later, allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors.