Boris Johnson shuttled between Downing Street and his official Checkers country residence during the first period of Covid lockdown even after telling the public to stay home, No 10 has admitted.
The Prime Minister has been traveling to and from his Grace and Favor mansion in Buckinghamshire for more than 10 days after first asking the country to stop non-essential travel on March 16, 2020.
Asked about the period between March 16 and March 27, 2020, a Downing Street spokesperson said: At that time Ms Johnson was heavily pregnant and had been placed in a vulnerable category and advised to minimize social contact .
Added No 10: In line with clinical guidelines and to minimize risk to her, they were based at Checkers during this time, with the Prime Minister traveling to Downing Street for work.
On March 16, 2020, Mr Johnson told the public to stop non-essential contact and travel.
The Prime Minister announced the first lockdown on March 23, 2020 with the order: You must stay at home. On March 26, 2020, laws came into force prohibiting people from visiting second homes.
Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie used Checkers during the first period of lockdown and country residence staff contracted Covid at the time, sources have said Turtle Media, who first reported on PMs commuting on Friday.
The Prime Minister tested positive for Covid on March 27, 2020 and headed into a period of self-isolation in his Downing Street flat.
Downing Street denied that the rules were broken by prime ministers commuting during the period. A No 10 spokesperson said: This claim that the Prime Minister failed to adhere to lockdown regulations and guidelines is completely incorrect.
Pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson amid new allegations that drink-leaving events took place in Downing Street last April the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, while strict Covid measures were still in place square.
No 10 apologized to Buckingham Palace for the gatherings on April 16, 2021 the day before the Queen was to attend the funeral, but declined to say whether Mr Johnson knew about it.
Separately, the former head of the government unit responsible for developing Covidrules has apologized for hosting a leaving event during the Christmas 2020 lockdown.
Kate Josephs, ex-head of the government’s Covid-19 task force at the Cabinet Office, admitted she gathered colleagues for her own leaving event on December 17, 2020.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is drawing up a list of officials to offer resignations over the partygate scandal in the coming weeks as he fights to save his job as Prime Minister,The Independenthas learned.
Dubbed Operation Save Big Dog by the Prime Minister, the plan includes a campaign to determine who should leave after senior official Sue Grays’ report is released, sources say.
Martin Reynolds, his private secretary and author of the BYOB email, and Dan Rosenfield, Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, were both noted as making a possible exit.
Several Conservative MPs have said The Independent they expected Mr Johnson to cling to power until Ms Grays’ report, and did not believe the 54 letters of censure needed to trigger a challenge to the leadership would be sent to the head of the committee of MPs in 1922 backbench next week.
A Conservative backbencher said The Independent that he was about to send a letter of censure and warned the Prime Minister that there could soon be a tsunami of letters. It depends on how damning Sue Gray’s report is, or if more revelations come out of the party photos, that would be very bad.
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