Boris Johnson mocked after claiming No10 garden drinks were 'work'

20 December 2021, 20:13

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson has been mocked for insisting a wine and cheese garden gathering at Downing Street was 'work'.

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Mr Johnson was photographed at the gathering, which was reported to have taken place in May 2020 - when no more than two people were allowed to mix from different households.

However, he has maintained that it was strictly business, saying "those were meetings of people at work".

One Twitter user, Neil, said: "Nice work if you can get it!"

Meanwhile, another Twitter user, Max, tweeted: "If Boris Johnson thinks that he can get away with having wine and cheese and passing it off as a legit work meeting and 'definitely not a social event' then I'm bringing beer and whiskey to my next meeting."

Read more: No new Covid rules but PM warns 'we won't hesitate to take action to protect public'

Read more: Fresh pressure on Johnson as PM pictured at Downing St garden 'gathering during lockdown'

Speaking to Mr Johnson, a reporter said: "Prime Minister, there is a trust issue here - you're asking people to be cautious but they see the picture of you sitting in the Downing Street garden drinking wine and eating cheese at a time when those were not within the rules.

"[The public] don't buy that it's a work meeting. There are people on Twitter who say they had funerals of loved ones in the same week and they couldn't have that many people at their funerals.

"Do you understand why people are angry and why they might be less likely to do what you say?"

"Those were people at work, talking about work," Mr Johnson said firmly.

"So you were having a work meeting there without laptops, without any notes or paper, do you normally have wine and cheese at a work meeting?"

"Those were meetings of people at work," Mr Johnson insisted.

"This is where I live and where I work and those were meetings with people at work, talking about work."

Read more: Furious Brits share images of how they spent May 2020 after PM 'garden party' photo

He later attempted to change the subject to the progress of the vaccine rollout amid concerns over the Omicron Covid variant.

"I really think it's vital that we focus, if we can, on the messages we're trying to get across today," Mr Johnson said.

"We face a serious spike in Omicron and we're seeing the cases go up in London - particularly the cases of hospitalisations - and the answer is to be cautious but also to get vaccinated."

It comes after Justice Secretary Dominic Raab also defended Mr Johnson on Monday morning.

He told LBC that the image showed "people after a series of work meetings having something to drink which was consistent with the rules at the time".