Sunday, January 16, 2022

PM “commuted” in March 2020 after telling the public to stay home

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Boris Johnson ‘commuted’ between Downing Street and his official country home, Checkers, during the first Covid lockdown – even after telling the public to stay home, No10 has admitted.

The Prime Minister traveled to and from his mansion of grace and favor in Buckinghamshire for more than 10 days after urging the country to halt non-essential travel for the first time on March 16, 2020.

When asked about the period between March 16 and March 27, 2020, a Downing Street spokesman said: “At the time, Ms Johnson was heavily pregnant and was placed in a vulnerable category and told to minimize social contact.”

No10 added: “In accordance with clinical guidelines and to minimize the risk to them, they were based at Checkers during this time and the Prime Minister commuted to Downing Street for work.”

On March 16, 2020, Mr Johnson urged the public to “cease non-essential contacts 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 lockdown period and staff at the estate contracted Covid at the time, sources said turtle media, which first reported on the Prime Minister’s “commuting” on Friday.

The Prime Minister tested positive for Covid on March 27, 2020 and entered a period of self-isolation at his Downing Street home.

Downing Street denied any rules had been broken by the Prime Minister’s commuting during the period. A No10 spokesman said: “This allegation that the Prime Minister failed to comply with lockdown rules and guidance is completely inaccurate.”

Pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson amid fresh allegations that drink-leaving events were being held in Downing Street last April – the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, while strict Covid measures were still in force.

No 10 has apologized to Buckingham Palace for gatherings on April 16, 2021 – the day before the Queen attended the funeral alone – but refused to say if Mr Johnson knew about it.

Separately, the former head of the government unit responsible for drafting Covid rules has apologized for organizing a drinks event during the 2020 Christmas lockdown.

Kate Josephs, ex-head of the government’s Covid-19 task force at the Cabinet Office, admitted she had gathered colleagues for her own farewell event on December 17, 2020.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is making a list of officials to offer resignations over the coming weeks over the Partygate scandal as he fights to save his position as prime minister. LatestPageNews have learned.

The plan, dubbed “Operation Save Big Dog” by the Prime Minister, involves a drive to find out who should go after senior official Sue Gray’s report was released, sources said.

Martin Reynolds, his private secretary and author of the “BYOB” email, and Dan Rosenfield, Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, have both been announced as a possible exit.

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