'No rules were broken': Raab defends No 10 'cheese and wine' garden gathering

20 December 2021, 08:23 | Updated: 20 December 2021, 08:31

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Deputy Prime Minister has defended a photo of Boris Johnson and his staff with cheese and wine in the Downing Street garden during lockdown last year.

The photo, obtained by the Guardian, showed Mr Johnson, his then-fiancee Carrie, and 17 other staff members in the garden on May 15, 2020, with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard on a table in front of the Prime Minister.

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

LBC's Nick Ferrari asked Mr Raab if he believed the image showed a work meeting.

"The reality is Number 10 is a place of work, including the garden," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Explaining the scene Mr Raab said the image was taken after the Prime Minister's Covid press conference and having "something to drink" in the garden was "consistent with the rules."

When Nick challenged the Deputy Prime Minister over the presence of Boris Johnson's wife and child, Mr Raab said the PM lives and works in Downing Street.

"Mr Raab, you and I have known each other for some time, are you honestly saying you believe this was a business meeting?" Nick Ferrari asked.

Replying, the Deputy Prime Minister said the Number 10 garden is "used for work meetings."

"It's like freshers week in Number 10, isn't it? There's a party every other day," Nick shot back with.

But, Mr Raab denied this and claimed it showed "people after a series of work meetings having something to drink which was consistent with the rules at the time."

Watch the whole exchange in the video at the top of the page.

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