Partygate: Boris Johnson under fire as Tory MPs react to lockdown drinks photos ahead of Sue Gray report

Leaked photos show the Prime Minister with a glass in his hand as he and several other people appear to be toasting a colleague in Downing Street during lockdown

The leaked photos, obtained by ITV News, were taken at a do for departing communications chief Lee Cain on 13 November 2020.

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Mr Johnson appears to be toasting a colleague during the second national lockdown in England when people were not allowed to mix with other households indoors.

Boris Johnson has come under fire from Tory MPs over leaked photos from a No 10 leaving do (Photo: Getty Images)

The photos emerged the week after the Metropolitan Police investigation into the parties concluded with 126 fines for 83 people, including the Prime Minister, and ahead of the report by senior civil servant Sue Gray, which is due to be published this week.

Mr Johnson was not fined by police over the event seen in the images, which show at least nine people in close proximity along with six bottles of wine.

Downing Street declined to defend the scene portrayed, saying the Prime Minister will comment after the Sue Gray report into partygate is published in the coming days.

What have MPs said?

Labour said the images show there is “no doubt now” that Mr Johnson “lied” to Parliament when he repeatedly insisted all rules had been followed in Downing Street.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper urged the Independent Office for Police Conduct to investigate why the Met did not fine the Prime Minister over the leaving party, as she joined the SNP in calling on the Tories to remove him from office.

Meanwhile senior Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said the photos show a lack of "seriousness" at the top of government in its attitude towards the pandemic.

He told Sky News: “It’s very difficult to look at those photographs because they don’t give the impression of seriousness that I think we really need in our country.

"We know that Number 10 was working hard. Of course, they were and they were doing all they could. But we also know that people were working incredibly hard in hospitals and care homes and across our country.

"We know that teachers were turning up to work and making sure that people could get kids education when they were essential workers.

"We know that many people were turning up at times when they were extremely worried. And I’m afraid this doesn’t show the level of seriousness that we really need in government."

Cabinet Minister Grant Shapps said the photos do not change what the police and Sue Gray already know, adding that Mr Johnson “doesn’t in his mind recognise it as a party”.

But veteran Tory MP Sir Roger Gale said it was "absolutely clear that there was a party" and that the PM was there, adding that the PM misled Parliament by denying a party had taken place.

Following comments on Times Radio on Monday in which he said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “misled us from the despatch box”, Mr Gale tweeted: “I believe that the PM has misled the HoC’s from the despatch box. That is a resignation issue.

“I have made my own position clear. It is now a matter for my Conservative parliamentary colleagues to decide whether or not to instigate a vote of no confidence.”

In pictures obtained by ITV News, Boris Johnson can be seen toasting a drink at an illegal gathering, for which he was not fined by the Met Police. (Credit: ITV)

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Baroness Davidson agreed that it was clear Boris Johnson had lied to Parliament and that his position was untenable.

She told Channel 4 News: “There is now photographic evidence that when the Prime Minister stood up in Parliament and was asked directly was there a party in No 10 on this date and he replied ‘no’, he lied to Parliament.

“I don’t think his job is tenable and his position is tenable. The office of Prime Minister should be above being traduced by the person who holds it.”

Current Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross demanded the Prime Minister explain why he believes his behaviour was “acceptable” when most think the pictures seem “unjustifiable and wrong”.

Downing Street declined to defend the scene portrayed, saying the Prime Minister will comment after the Sue Gray report into partygate is published in the coming days.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “The Cabinet Office and the Met Police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs.

“The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the Prime Minister will address Parliament in full.”