Douglas Ross: PM must resign if he was at bring-your-own-booze party

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said he was 'furious'.

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The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said Boris Johnson must resign as Prime Minister if he was at a bring-your-own-booze party at Downing Street during the first coronavirus lockdown.

Douglas Ross said Johnson must end speculation and say whether or not he was in attendance at the gathering which saw 100 people invited to “make the most of the lovely weather” in the No 10 garden on May 20, 2020.

All four UK nations were under tough Covid restrictions banning groups from meeting socially outdoors at the time.

Sunseekers drawn to Portobello Beach in Edinburgh on the same day as the party had to be cleared by police officers.

Officer remonstrating with people at Portobello Beach on May 20, 2020.Getty Images
Officer remonstrating with people at Portobello Beach on May 20, 2020.

“You cannot be the head of the government that is asking people to follow these rules and then break those rules yourself,” Ross told STV News.

“If the Prime Minister or anyone misleads Parliament, you cannot come back from that. That is a resign matter.”

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said he was “furious”.

Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, sent an email entitled “Socially Distanced Drinks!” to more than 100 Downing Street employees inviting them to the party including the advisors, speechwriters and door staff.

The email invitation sent by Martin Reynolds, seen by ITV News.ITV News
The email invitation sent by Martin Reynolds, seen by ITV News.

The email said: “Hi all, after what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

ITV News understands around 40 staff gathered in the garden that evening, eating picnic food and drinking, including the PM and his wife Carrie.

Ross has said Johnson must resign if he broke ministerial code multiple times in reference to various alleged breaches.

In May last year, Ross said Johnson must quit if was found to be in breach over renovations to his Downing Street flat.

Last month, Ross said the PM must go if he misled Parliament about a party inside Downing Street – a gathering Johnson denied ever took place.

The UK’s top civil servant, Simon Case, was leading an investigation into several alleged parties in government departments during the pandemic but stepped aside after it emerged an event was held in his own office last December.

Simon Case with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.No10 Downing St
Simon Case with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The former head of the ethics team in the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray, is now leading the investigation.

On Tuesday, government ministers said it would be pre-judging the inquiry to answer questions on the latest allegations now.

Ross said this was false and that the PM should answer the question of whether or not he was at the party right away.

“At the moment he is leaving this vacuum, this very simple question that could be answered right now, today, at this very minute, and we cannot continue to see the UK Government defending their position by saying they’re waiting for an independent inquiry.

“I would not in any way support the Prime Minister if he broke the law and attended that party.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it is liaising with the Cabinet Office over the latest claims.