The photos were released just ahead of the much-anticipated publication of a report on 'partygate'.
They show British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sharing a drink in Downing Street in 2020, in full confinement, reignited accusations of lies against him.
These photos published Monday evening by ITV News were taken during a farewell party for the head of communications Lee Cain on November 13, 2020, a few days after the announcement of a second confinement in England.
We see Boris Johnson raise his glass and chat with several people around a table on which there are several bottles of wine and food.
EXCL: @ITVNews has obtained pictures of Boris Johnson drinking at a No10 party during lockdown in November 2020.
The photos cast fresh doubt on the PM's repeated claims he was unaware of rule-breaking in No10 during the pandemic.
See all pictures here:https://t.co/sUJiWpxqmm pic.twitter.com/iXopuPIQu7
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) May 23, 2022
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Controversial New Party
This farewell drink had been the subject of a police investigation, like other festive events organized in circles of power during the coronavirus pandemic, a scandal called "partygate".
Asked in Parliament about the November rally, Boris Johnson assured that there had been no party on that date and that he was certain that the rules had not been broken.
He was fined by the police for attending a surprise birthday party for his 56th birthday in Downing Street but was not punished for the parting drink, which has revived criticism.
Deputy Labor Party leader Angela Rayner said it was "astonishing" that the Tory leader had not been fined for the rally "which did not particularly look like work", she told ITV.
“He tried to lie”
Aggravating circumstance, according to Angela Rayner, Boris Johnson “knew he had broken the rules (…) and yet he tried to get away with it.
He tried to lie to the British public, and he tried to lie to Parliament.”
Transport Minister Grant Shapps defended Boris Johnson on SkyNews on Tuesday.
Describing the photos, he said he "felt like he's coming down from the office, thanking the staff and raising his glass, and doesn't see it as a party".
The police investigation is now complete and a total of 126 fines have been issued for events that occurred on eight different dates, ranging from May 20, 2020 to April 16, 2021.
A long-awaited report
But the publication of a report by senior civil servant Sue Gray on "partygate" is expected in the coming days and could provide details and photos of the various events, providing grist for the mill of critics.
A parliamentary inquiry will then begin, aimed at determining whether Boris Johnson knowingly deceived MPs in this affair, by repeatedly asserting in the House of Commons that all the rules had been respected.
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