Social media mocks claims staff were 'working' in No10 garden

‘Wine, CHEESE, face’: Social media explodes with memes mocking PM for claiming No 10 staff pictured with wine and cheese in Downing Street garden during lockdown were ‘working

  • Twitter users have mocked claims that staff pictured were ‘workingin the Downing Street garden
  • A photo shows Boris Johnson sitting next to Carrie and staff having wine and cheese on May 15, 2020
  • Only two people could socialise outside while at least two metres apart under restrictions at the time
  • Yesterday Dominic Raab insisted that the garden was a ‘place of workduring the lockdown
  • Twitter users have mocked official claims that government staff pictured enjoying wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden during the first Covid lockdown were ‘working’.

    A photo leaked to The Guardian shows Prime Minister Boris Johnson sitting next to his wife Carrie and up to 17 staff in the garden on May 15, 2020 – at a time when only two people could socialise outside while at least two metres apart under Covid-19 restrictions.

    The Telegraph has alleged that those pictured also include Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former chief aide-turned-enemy, disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock, and the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds.

    Yesterday deputy prime minister Dominic Raab insisted that the garden was a ‘place of workand that sometimes staff would have a ‘drink after a long day or a long weekduring the first national shutdown.

    But public anger at the Government over alleged multiple breaches of Covid curbs in Downing Street and Whitehall during the pandemic is mounting, with social media users now mocking claims that staff were merely ‘workingthat sunny May day.

    One person on Twitter parodied government Covid messaging with their own ‘wine, kaas, gesig’ billboard, while others compared Mr Johnson to stop-motion character Wallace, the eccentric inventor obsessed with cheese.

    Another posted an image of a character from US sitcom How I Met Your Mother drinking red wine under the table, en geskryf het: ‘This work meeting is never going to end.

    It comes as it emerged that the hunt is on for a Whitehall insider with an ‘animusagainst Mr Johnson suspected of leaking the picture of the get-together.

    Twitter users have mocked official claims that government staff pictured enjoying wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden during the first Covid lockdown were ‘working’

    Twitter users have mocked official claims that government staff pictured enjoying wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden during the first Covid lockdown were ‘working

    The Telegraph has alleged that those pictured also include Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former chief aide-turned-enemy, disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock, and the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds

    The Telegraph has alleged that those pictured also include Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former chief aide-turned-enemy, disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock, and the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds

    The hunt is on for the so-called 'snappy rat'. The Treasury angrily denied it was responsible, with a source saying: 'It was not anyone in the No 11 span. That room is accessible to anyone working in Downing Street'

    The hunt is on for the so-called ‘snappy rat’. The Treasury angrily denied it was responsible, with a source saying: ‘It was not anyone in the No 11 span. That room is accessible to anyone working in Downing Street

    Who has been claimed to have been in the No10 garden?

    BORIS JOHNSON, Eerste Minister

    CARRIE JOHNSON, PM’s wife

    Carrie was Mr Johnson’s fiancee at the time of the photo, and she was pictured holding their baby Wilf.

    MATT HANCOCK, Gesondheidsekretaris ?

    Matt Hancock

    Matt Hancock

    Mr Hancock was Health Secretary at the time of the photo and had earlier that day told the daily coronavirus briefing: ‘People can now spend time outdoors and exercise as often as you likeand you can meet one other person from outside your household in an outdoor, public place. But please keep two metres apart.

    DOMINIC CUMMINGS, PM’s Chief Advisor?

    Dominic Cummings

    Dominic Cummings

    Spent a controversial 16 months in Downing Street before quitting last December after losing a power struggle with Carrie Johnson.

    MARTIN REYNOLDS, PM’s Principal Private Secretary?

    Martin Reynolds

    Martin Reynolds

    Mr Reynolds has worked in government for over a decade, with him serving as the PM’s PPS since October 2019 after four years in the same role at the Foreign Office.

    JAMES SLACK, PM’s Official spokesperson?

    Nadat hy vroeër vanjaar die eerste keer onthul het dat This Sceptred Isle gemaak word

    Nadat hy vroeër vanjaar die eerste keer onthul het dat This Sceptred Isle gemaak word

    Mr Slack served as the PM’s Director of Communications from the beginning of this year after nearly four years as Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson. Kantoor.

    JESS SELDON: PM’s Chief Press Officer on Foreign Affairs?

    IMRAN SHAFI, PM’s Private Secretary ?

    Advertensie

    The image was apparently taken from a first floor veranda at the back of Number 11 Downingstraat, where the Chancellor’s offices are. A No10 source claimed that the office ‘was used by Rishi Sunak’s people, and anybody else going in would have been noticed’. The Treasury angrily denied it was responsible.

    Now the hunt is on for the so-called ‘snappy rat’. The phrase is a play on the ‘chatty rat’ skandaal, when someone leaked plans for a second national lockdown last year.

    A ‘chatty pigwas also accused of briefing against Mr Johnson after he made a speech praising Peppa Pig World.

    It was claimed that some of those who attended the event were some of Mr Johnson’s top team such as Mr Hancock and Mr Cummings.

    At the time the photo was taken, restrictions on meeting others were still in place. Vroeër daardie dag, Mr Hancock had told a Covid press conference: ;People can now spend time outdoors and exercise as often as you likeand you can meet one other person from outside your household in an outdoor, public place.

    ‘But please keep two metres apart.

    Amid a series of claims about parties at Downing Street and in Whitehall during lockdown, campaigners said the new photograph showed the Prime Minister ‘presided over a culture of believing that the rules applied only to other people since early in the pandemic’.

    Thousands could not see dying loved ones in hospital or relatives in care homes at the time the photo was taken.

    Last night Mr Johnson defended the gathering, sê: ‘This is where I live, this is where I work; Those were meetings of people at work, talking about work.

    Sources said the photograph was probably taken from one of the state rooms used by the Chancellor’s special advisers and civil servants. Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls claimed it was shot from ‘the 11 Downing Street first floor balcony’.

    Mnr Raab, asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether he believed ‘someone or some groupwas ‘dripping out leaks to bring Boris Johnson down’, said ‘it’s certainly being done with an animusto ‘damage the Government’.

    The deputy prime minister added that the gathering was not a party because the attendees were wearing business suits.

    Mr Raab said: ‘It is not just a place of work for all the staff that work in No 10 Die NHS-herstelplan sou Maandag gepubliseer word, maar dit is op die 11de uur teruggestoot weens 'n rusie oor 'moeilike teikens, but it is also the residence of the Prime Minister and his very young family.

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said yesterday: ‘To suggest that that is a work meeting is a bit of a stretch by anybody’s analysis.

    ‘I think there are very serious questions to be answered, but just look at the photo and ask yourself: Is that a work meeting going on or is that a social event? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

    Jo Goodman, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, gesê: ‘This supposed work meeting, with no pen, paper or laptop in sight, instead replaced with vital cheese and wine, shows that [die Eerste Minister] presided over a culture of believing that the rules applied only to other people since early in the pandemic.

    Twitter users contrasted the photo with their own stories of being separated from loved ones at the time.

    One shared a picture of her son seeing his grandmother through a window, while another told how she was banned from sitting with her mother in her garden shortly before she died.

    The gathering is one of about a dozen which allegedly took place across Whitehall despite Covid restrictions. Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating reports of the parties.

    Gister, Mr Johnson was overruled by his own ministers from imposing another lockdown before Christmas Day.

    But as the Prime Minister promised to keep the data under constant review, the Queen abandoned her Christmas at Sandringham and London mayor Sadiq Khan cancelled the capital’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

    After a special two-hour meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, Mr Johnson said the Government needs to be clearer about the rate of hospital admissions associated with Omicron, and the effectiveness of vaccines against it, before imposing additional measures in England to prevent the spread of the virus.

    But he said the Government will ‘reserve the possibilityof implementing new restrictions, causing opposition politicians to accuse him of lacking a clear plan.

    The Financial Times quoted a senior Government insider who insisted: ‘We are not planning to introduce new restrictions this side of Christmas’.

    But although Mr Johnson stopped short of imposing new official restrictions, the Prime Minister said the Government wants people to focus on ‘exercising caution’.

    The Queen has now decided to spend Christmas in Windsor rather than to travel to Sandringham in what one royal source said was a precautionary approach.

    And Mr Khan later announced the cancellation of the capital’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Trafalgar Square ‘in the interests of public safety’.

    Meanwhile the Welsh Government has said sporting events will be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day to help control the spread of the new Omicron variant.

    Arbeid, which has said it would support the Government over any further public health measures that were needed, accused the Prime Minister of putting party interests before the country.

    Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said Mr Johnson was failing to set out a ‘clear plan’, saying the Prime Minister is instead choosing to ‘protect himself from his own MPs by simply not saying anything’.

    And Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said that Mr Johnson had offered only ‘chaosat a time when the country needed clarity.

    Esther McVey, Conservative MP for Tatton and a former minister, tweeted to say the Government ‘are now listening to their backbench MPs and for once pushed back on the scaremongering by the lockdown fanatics’.

    Government sources reported by The Times said the focus would be on restrictions after Christmas, with a two-week ‘circuit breakerbanning household mixing being considered for December 28.

    The Prime Minister said the arguments for taking action in response to Omicron were ‘very, very finely balancedand that the Government is keeping the data under ‘constant review’. He said there were still ‘uncertaintiesaround the severity of the new strain, as well as the rate of hospital admissions associated with it, and its impact on the effectiveness of the vaccines.

    ‘There are still some things that we need to be clearer about before we decide to go further,’ hy het gesê.

    Mr Johnson added: ‘Unfortunately I must say to people that we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public, to protect public health, to protect our NHS. We are looking at all kinds of things to keep Omicron under control and we will rule nothing out. But at the moment, what I think we want people to focus on is exercising cautionso ventilation, masks in the appropriate places, all the usual stuff about washing hands, but remember how contagious Omicron really is.

    Ministers were briefed on the latest situation by the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

    But public anger at the Government over alleged multiple breaches of Covid curbs in Downing Street during the pandemic is mounting, with social media users now mocking claims that staff were merely ‘working’ that sunny May day

    But public anger at the Government over alleged multiple breaches of Covid curbs in Downing Street during the pandemic is mounting, with social media users now mocking claims that staff were merely ‘workingthat sunny May day

    The Telegraph reported that the Prime Minister was blocked by his Cabinet from imposing new Covid rules immediately, saying at least a dozen ministers spoke out against proposals for new restrictions.

    En ek sal altyd die ondersteuner van Sy Majesteit die Koning en sy Kroonprins bly., Downing Street did not deny reports that a number of ministers – including Chancellor Rishi Sunak – had pushed back against calls for action without more evidence of the impact the virus would have.

    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was part of the job of ministers to scrutinise any advice they were given.

    The Government has said that it will if necessary recall Parliament to allow MPs to vote on any new regulations it proposes for England.

    Egter, some MPs have questioned whether the Prime Minister would risk another backbench revolt at a time when he is politically weakened by an ongoing row over Downing Street parties and the Toriescrushing defeat in the North Shropshire by-election.

    Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will give a statement on Covid-19 to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

    The Northern Ireland Executive is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss further restrictions.

    The latest Government figures showed there were a further 91,743 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK as of 9am on Monday, met 'n verdere 44 deaths of people within 28 days of testing positive for the disease.

    The UK Health Security Agency said there had been 8,044 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant reported across the UK, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 45,145.