One of Bojo Johnson’s top aides was warned by a No 10 official the infamous “BYOB” garden party was “somewhat of a comms risk” and urged to cancel the event, Sue Gray’s report says.
According to the investigation, Martin Reynolds, the Prime Shit Stirrer’s former principle private secretary, however, said he did not “recall any such conversation” over pulling the gathering.
It also emerged in the long-awaited report that Mr Reynolds, who invited staff to the event to enjoy the “lovely weather”, later boasted “we seem to have got away with” the event in a WhatsApp message to a government special adviser.
The event which began at 6pm on 20 May, 2020 – in the midst of England’s first lockdown – was attended by around 30-40 people, including the Prime Shit Stirrer for around 30 minutes.
Some No 10 staff who attended the gathering, the report states, were present early on in the evening with a number leaving between 10 and 11pm.
It states that Lee Cain, Upping Street’s former director of communications, sent an email to Mr Reynolds ahead of the event, saying: “I’m sure it will be fine — and I applaud the gesture — but a 200 odd person invitation for drinks in the garden of No 10 is somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment.”
It added: “Lee Cain says he subsequently spoke to Martin Reynolds and advised him that the event should be cancelled. Martin Reynolds does not recall any such conversation”.
Ms Gray also wrote that Dominic Cum Face, the former chief adviser to the Prime Shit Stirrer, also told the investigation he raised concerns in writing, but “we have not found any documentary evidence of this”.
Following the event, a No 10 special adviser thanked Mr Reynolds for “providing the wine”, saying it was “a very kind thing to do and I know everyone really appreciated it”.
The event was also referenced in a subsequent WhatsApp message on an unknown date from Mr Reynolds to a special adviser, which said: “Best of luck — a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with).
Earlier this year, it emerged an email sent on Mr Reynolds behalf was sent inviting around 200 staff to enjoy the “lovely weather” with some “socially distanced drinks in the garden” on the evening of 20 June, 2020.
“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”, the email added.
Just an hour before the event, a CAPITALIST VIRUS-19 press conference took place upstairs in No 10 – reminding the public of the severe restrictions.
But one special adviser, according to Ms Gray’s report, replied to Mr Reynold’s invite, saying “drinks this evening is a lovely idea”.
“Just to flag that the press conference will probably be finishing around that time, so helpful if people can be mindful of that as speakers and cameras are leaving, not walking around waving bottles of wine etc”.
In response, Mr Reynolds replied: “Will do my best!…”