Drinks at home, a KFC delivery, presents exchanged through windows – that is how locked-down Britons celebrated their birthdays in June 2020.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson enjoyed cake with Downing Street colleagues to mark his 56th birthday on June 19, 2020, families were forced to keep their distance due to the Government’s tough Covid rules.
One Briton had Happy Birthday sung to them by their family from two meters away as they stood at the front of their porch.
Others watched on eagerly through the window as their family members celebrated without them inside.
At the time, social gatherings were limited to two people from different households indoors, and six people outdoors.
With anger rising anger at the Downing Street birthday ‘party’, the latest revelation in the ongoing ‘party-gate’ row, Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick today added to Mr Johnson woes by announcing that the force has now launched a probe into lockdown breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall over the past two years.
Dame Cressida said the Met had been liaising with the Cabinet Office, where top civil servant Sue Gray has been carrying out a separate inquiry.
The announcement will likely intensify a Tory mutiny against Mr Johnson, although it is not clear whether he was personally involved in any of the the incidents under criminal investigation.
As anger within the Conservative party, anger on social media has continued to boil over – with people taking to Twitter to compare their lockdown compliant birthday parties to the Downing Street ‘party’ in June 2020.
One person, sharing a picture of family members singing happy birthday from at least two meters, wrote on Twitter today: ‘May 2020 – my birthday celebration.
‘I would have quite liked a Marks and Spencer cake and a gathering, but I had Happy Birthday sung to me from afar instead.’
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson enjoyed cake with colleagues to mark his 56th birthday on June 19, 2020, families were forced to keep their distance due to the Government’s tough Covid rules
One person, sharing a picture of family members singing happy birthday from at least two meters, wrote on Twitter today: ‘May 2020 – my birthday celebration. ‘I would have quite liked a Marks and Spencer cake and a gathering, but I had Happy Birthday sung to me from afar instead.’ Another, sharing a picture of a Government headed sign warning people not to gather, wrote: ‘This was a sign in the middle of the forest in April 2020. ‘For MPs to scoff and say “you can’t even have a birthday cake now?!”. This is how we were all being treated at the time.’
Another, sharing a picture of a Government headed sign warning people not to gather, wrote: ‘This was a sign in the middle of the forest in April 2020.
‘For MPs to scoff and say “you can’t even have a birthday cake now?!”. This is how we were all being treated at the time.’
Actor Samuel West, who has starred in hit TV shows such as The Crown, was among those to celebrate his birthday indoors on June 19, 2020.
Mr West wrote: ‘I also had a birthday on 19th June 2020. Here is my cake. Guests at my party included my darling partner and my daughters, and, er… that’s it. The other 27 people couldn’t come.’
Meanwhile former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson also took a swipe at Mr Johnson, saying in a Twitter post: ‘By coincidence, my partner shares a birthday with the Prime Minister.
‘We marked it in 2020 by inviting one other household to sit outside, socially distanced, in our garden.
‘It didn’t occur to us – literally couldn’t conceive – that we would act outside the rules.’
Meanwhile, pictures from June 19, 2020, when Mr Johnson’s Downing Street birthday party took place, reveal how Britons who share a birthday with the Prime Minister enjoyed their day.
One Twitter user, posting in June 2020, wrote: ‘KFC and chicken wings for my lockdown birthday celebration? Happy Anna.’
Another, sharing pictures of coffee cups, wrote: ‘I took Emily to our local Starbucks in Kettering for some pre-birthday drinks… trying to make a lockdown birthday special.’
One Twitter user, sharing a picture of a beer, said: ‘Well it is a lockdown birthday. Cheers everyone.’
Another, Kelsey Cartwright, said: ‘Spent a fortune on decorations for George’s birthday. Determined that he has the best lockdown birthday party ever.’
Author and journalist Harry Wallop also shared details of his wife’s birthday on June 19, 2020. He wrote: ‘It’s my wife’s birthday. We usually got to a National Trust property (because we are boring and middle aged.
‘But because of lockdown we decided to walk from Islington to Kensal Green cemetery. Wild.’
The latest episode in the brewing part-gate row involved a birthday ‘party’ held for Mr Johnson in No10 in June 2020.
What were the rules at the time of Boris’s birthday party?
Boris Johnson celebrated his 56th birthday with a party in the Cabinet Room in Downing Street on June 19, 2020.
It is alleged that as many as 30 people were in attendance.
At the time, social gatherings were limited to two people from different households indoors, and six people outdoors.
Social distancing was required.
There were get-outs for work purposes, but gatherings had to be ‘reasonably necessary’.
Social venues like pubs and restaurants were all closed.
The rules were not relaxed to allow indoor gatherings between two households until the following month, on July 4.
In June 2020, social gatherings were limited to two people from different households indoors, and six people outdoors. There were get-outs for work purposes, but gatherings had to be ‘reasonably necessary’
It is thought to be unprecedented in modern times for a PM to be subject to a criminal probe. Tony Blair was interviewed as a witness during the cash-for-honours affair, but not under caution.
The news broke as the Cabinet held its weekly meeting in Downing Street, with Jacob Rees-Mogg walking out and straight over to cameras to vow loyalty to Mr Johnson.
‘I am honoured to be under his leadership,’ the Commons Leader said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted this morning that he was ‘upset’ by the latest allegations that up to 30 people gathered in the Cabinet Room, presented Mr Johnson with a cake and sang to him.
Sent out to field questions, Mr Shapps was pushed on why interior designer Lulu Lytle, who had been refurbishing Mr Johnson’s flat, had come down three flights of stairs and was present at the alleged party.
‘You are asking me questions I can’t provide the answer to because I wasn’t there,’ Mr Shapps said.
Mr Shapps – usually one of the most loyal ministers who has been a key figure trying to quell the revolt up to now – told Sky News: ‘It was his (Boris Johnson’s) birthday and these are people that he worked with all the time.
‘As I said, I don’t seek to defend it. This is for Sue Gray to decide on whether this was appropriate, she’ll make the recommendations.
The minister seemed to lay the blame squarely on Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie – sometimes dubbed Carrie Antoinette by critics due to her influence behind the scenes – who is believed to have organised the gathering in the Cabinet Room on June 19, 2020.
‘Look, as the Prime Minister’s said, where mistakes were made, even though it wasn’t… I mean, he would have turned up and the cake would have been there,’ he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
‘He didn’t know about it, and it clearly shouldn’t happen.
‘But Sue Gray will get to the bottom of that; the Prime Minister’s already said there will be consequences falling out from the Sue Gray report, and my hope is we can get to see that very quickly.’
He added: ‘We know that this was a surprise, the Prime Minister obviously wasn’t involved in that surprise, but we need to have a full understanding of all of that.’
Downing Street has conceded staff ‘gathered briefly’ in the Cabinet Room following a meeting after it was alleged 30 people attended and shared cake despite social mixing indoors being banned.
Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick announced that the force has now launched a probe into lockdown breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall over the past two years
Tory MPs are on high alert for more damaging revelations after it emerged that the PM’s 56th birthday celebration included a Union Jack cake, Marks and Spencer’s nibbles and singing.
The event, first revealed by ITV, was apparently already on the radar of Sue Gray, the civil servant who is carrying out an investigation into Whitehall lockdown breaches.
Earlier that day he had posed with his arms outstretched with children at a school in Hertfordshire to show the importance of social distancing.
In March, Mr Johnson had praised a girl named Josephine who wrote to him saying she was cancelling her seventh birthday while the pandemic was raging.
But while some ministers and Tory MPs tried to shrug the latest furore off – pointing out that the growing chaos in Ukraine could quickly overshadow the controversy – others warned that it could herald a new more dangerous phase for Mr Johnson.
One senior MP told MailOnline that the premier was facing huge damage that would not end. ‘It just keeps piling on,’ they said.
A Tory who so far has not submitted a no confidence letter added that the gathering on June 19 was ‘clearly social’ and ‘changes things – a lot’.
A frontbencher also referred to the mounting possibility of the PM losing a no confidence vote, saying if a third of the payroll voted against the PM then he needs ‘at least half of all backbenchers to back him’, adding: ‘That seems pretty unlikely. You can see things get dangerous quickly.’
As allies desperately mobilise an ‘Avengers’ operation to save the PM, 70 Tories including five Cabinet ministers held an online meeting to discuss his situation yesterday.
Housing minister Chris Pincher, a former whip, is said to have warned the group that an election could follow within months if Mr Johnson is ousted.
Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said Downing Street’s statement that the PM was only there 10 minutes ‘appears a clear admission of an illegal gathering’.
He noted that it is the first time No10 ‘has admitted that the PM was at an, to me, obviously illegal gathering with no real prospect of a reasonable excuse’.
Who was at Boris Johnson’s lockdown busting birthday party on June 19, 2020?
The birthday boy: Boris Johnson
Sources close to the Prime Minister insist he didn’t know about the party, which legal experts believe was in breach of his own lockdown rules. Mr Johnson didn’t break up the party.
Downing Street admitted that the PM attended the event ‘for less than ten minutes’. But No 10 denied claims that the bash had been followed by a second party in the PM’s flat. Instead, Mr Johnson hosted a small number of people outside, including his sister, where food was cooked on a BBQ.
The organiser: Carrie Johnson
A source said members of Johnson’s team had been emailed in advance asking them to come to ‘wish the prime minister happy birthday’.
The Prime Minister was allegedly given a Union Jack cake by his wife. Reports said picnic food from Marks & Spencer was eaten during the afternoon gathering lasting for up to 30 minutes
Those present also sang a chorus of happy birthday. Rules at the time banned indoor social gatherings.
The uninvited guest: Rishi Sunak
Sources close to the Chancellor have insisted that he wasn’t invited by Carrie, but was arriving for the Covid meeting in the same room afterwards, attending very briefly. A source stressed he was ‘not invited’.
The interior designer: Lulu Lytle
Interior designer Lulu Lytle admitted attending while carrying out the lavish and controversial work to their flat above No 11 Downing Street, but insisted she was only present ‘briefly’ while waiting to talk to Mr Johnson.
Some claim she helped carry the cake.
Party Marty: Martin Reynolds
Mr Johnson’s under-fire principal private secretary, was also said to have attended. A month before he had previously invited more than 100 staff to a drinks party at No 10 on May 20, 2020.
No 10’s director of communications: Jack Doyle
Head of operations: Shelley Williams-Walker