No 10 coy on reports PM and Carrie ‘hosted friends’ during lockdown

10 Downing Street today dodged reports Boris and Carrie Johnson broke lockdown rules and hosted friends during the beginning of the pandemic.

When asked whether Boris and Carrie Johnson had hosted friends during the first lockdown in March 2020, a spokesperson for the prime minister refused to outright deny the claim.

The PM’s spokesperson said he wasn’t aware of reports Mrs Johnson threw a hen do at that time. Pressed on whether the couple had friends over, the PM’s spokesperson stated the prime minister “acted in accordance with the guidance at all times”.

10 Downing Street confirmed last week Boris Johnson commuted between Downing Street and the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers, Buckinghamshire, between March 16 and March 27 2020, as first reported by Tortoise Media.

Asked why the prime minister and Carrie Johnson went to Chequers to limit social contact, the PM’s spokesperson pointed to the prime minister’s then fiancée Carrie Symonds being heavily pregnant at the time and placed in a vulnerable category. She was advised to “minimise social contact in line with clinical guidance”.

The government told the public to limit non-essential travel on March 16. The UK’s first lockdown came into effect on March 23, and the public were banned from travelling to their second homes from March 26.  

The PM’s spokesperson confirmed there was staff based at Chequers during this period.

Challenged on whether the prime minister commuting between Chequers and Downing Street put his wife at risk, the PM’s spokesperson said “the prime minister was leading the pandemic response” and was required to attend Downing Street for “necessary work meetings”.

Boris Johnson is looking to put a nightmare week behind him as he looks to win over the public and Conservative MPs, following numerous damaging allegations of parties in Downing Street during the pandemic.

Sue Gray’s report investigating allegations of Covid-rule breaking in Downing Street is expected to be published within the next fortnight.

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