Party Marty’s ‘SECOND No10 bash’: Boris’s aide Martin Reynolds – who sent ‘BYOB’ email inviting 100 staff to Downing St drinks – ‘also attended another boozy gathering that may have broken lockdown rules’
The top civil servant at the centre of the Partygate scandal engulfing the government allegedly attended another boozy Downing Street gathering that may have broken lockdown rules.
Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary whose email invite to 100 staff was leaked this week, is said to have attended another bash on December 18, 2020.
This was the same night as the infamous Christmas party in the No 10 press office that sparked the whole scandal last month and was the subject of the Allegra Stratton video.
Three government sources confirmed the get-together at a time when Christmas parties were forbidden.
Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary (pictured together) whose email invite to 100 staff was leaked this week, is said to have attended another bash on December 18, 2020.
The Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 staff to bring their own drinks to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20, 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’, an email leaked to ITV News shows
They said wine was served at the gathering on the final Friday before Christmas.
If it was an after-work gathering with alcohol in a social capacity then it is likely to have been forbidden under the Covid rules at the time.
London had recently entered Tier 3, meaning only your household or bubble could mix indoors, with bars and pubs closed except for takeaway or delivery.
One said about the two parties on the same night: ‘Everyone was talking about going to the private office drinks as well. People mix and match.’
Lord Udny-Lister, the former chief of staff who sat in the private office, said alcohol was drunk in the office during the run-up to Christmas but said no rules were broken.
Downing Street did not deny alcohol was consumed on that day in the private office or that Reynolds attended.
But a spokesman said it was not a party, and those present had stayed late to work on the Covid rules to be announced at the weekend.
The Number 10 spokesman said: ‘A number of private office staff worked late into the evening on the Covid response.’
A snap poll found that 66 per cent of the public thought the PM should resign over the ‘Partygate’ furore
Other source claimed Reynolds tried to organise a number of other parties including a leaving bash in 2021, but they were cancelled after meeting resistance among colleagues.
One was due to be held weeks after the May 2020 BYOB party, with a leaving drinks was due to be held in early 2021 when the country was in lockdown before it was called off, it was claimed.
Pressure has mounted on Johnson to fire Reynolds but a source said the sacking would be like ‘shooting a beloved labrador’.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said Johnson still has confidence in Reynolds but he may be forced to resign.
On a day when his future as Prime Minister was being openly questioned, Tory MPs broke ranks to demand Johnson urgently address claims of the lockdown-busting gathering in the No 10 garden.
Boris Johnson (pictured returning from his morning run) has ducked questions about whether he attended the May 20 garden party, merely insisting it was a matter for Sue Gray, the senior official leading an investigation into allegations of lockdown-busting parties across Whitehall
Mr Johnson failed to appear before the cameras or make any public comment yesterday – despite explosive allegations that he and his wife attended the event at a time when all parties were illegal.
No 10 also refused to deny he had been at the ‘bring your own booze’ bash on May 20, 2020.
The Prime Minister is expected to make a statement at the start of PMQs today in a bid to quell mounting anger from the public and his own party.
Yesterday he faced a ferocious backlash from families who were prevented by lockdown rules from saying a proper farewell to loved ones.
As support drained away, senior Tory figures put the PM on notice, warning that his survival in No 10 depended on addressing the ‘utterly despicable’ allegations and restoring trust in his Government.
Several warned he would have to resign if wrongdoing was proved, while others suggested he could soon face a confidence vote from mutinous backbenchers.
One Cabinet member told The Times: ‘It’s not terminal yet — there’s still room for humility and a heartfelt apology. We’re f***ed unless we resolve it. Everyone knows this thing happened; nobody is disputing that.
‘The row has moved on from whether the party took place to questions around denial and prevarication. PMQs will be agonising. We f***ed up. It doesn’t have to be terminal if he’s prepared to take his medicine. But it’s unquestionably done harm.’
Those close to Dominic Cummings, the ex-aide who has waged a determined campaign against his former boss, were said to be claiming Mr Johnson had only a 20 per cent chance of political survival.
In another damaging sign, not a single Cabinet minister took to the airwaves yesterday in a bid to defend the Prime Minister – while the Tory benches in the Commons were virtually deserted for an urgent question on the crisis.
Two opinion polls suggested that a majority of voters now thought he should quit, with one showing 66 per cent of people in favour of his resignation.
Behind the email: Top mandarin who runs Boris Johnson’s private office – for now
Martin Reynolds is the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary.
Questions had already been raised over his future after Dominic Cummings last week revealed he was behind the May 20, 2020 party.
But Downing Street denied reports he could be moved into a low profile senior diplomatic role, possibly at ambassador level.
Martin Reynolds (above), the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, is expected to be moved after the Cabinet Office concludes its investigation into whether rules were broken at a series of No 10 gatherings during Covid lockdowns
Mr Reynolds was pictured sitting with the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds at a ‘cheese and wine’ party held in the No10 garden on May 15, 2020.
Days later he sent the email to more than 100 people, inviting them out again for a cheeky midweek snifter.
Mr Cummings revealed the party on Friday in a blog, and claimed he warned colleagues at the time that the gathering broke lockdown rules and should not have gone ahead.
He said he wrote the warning in an email that could be discovered by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is investigating the allegations that parties were held.