Johnson should face MPs and 'fess up' over participation in No 10 staff quiz – Labour

Boris Johnson is facing demands to come to Parliament to answer questions about his attendance at a virtual No 10 staff quiz Credit: PA

There is growing pressure for the Prime Minister to respond to allegations he broke Covid rules after reports were made that he took part in a No 10 staff quiz last Christmas.

Labour said Boris Johnson "might have misled" MPs after he assured them and the public that no rules were broken by No 10 last December.

The party is demanding that Mr Johnson attend Parliament on Monday to “fess up” about whether he and staff partied and socialised while coronavirus restrictions were imposed on the public.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks to the media Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Sir Keir Starmer said that the latest revelation about Mr Johnson playing the part of impromptu quiz master on December 15 2020 meant it was “very hard” to see how Tier 2 rules that were in force in London at the time, which banned household mixing, could have been adhered to.

The Times reported that the online quiz will be included as part of Cabinet Secretary Simon Case’s investigation into potential rule-breaking in government last year.

The head of the Civil Service is already probing claims of a December Christmas party and November staff leaving do at No 10, as well as festive drinks at the Department for Education.

The Cabinet Office pointed to the terms of reference for Mr Case’s investigation, which state that the inquiry can be widened “where there are credible allegations relating to other gatherings”, when asked whether the quiz would form part of the review.

Downing Street has confirmed Mr Johnson “briefly” attended the “virtual” quiz at the tail end of last year.

An image published by the Sunday Mirror shows the Prime Minister flanked by colleagues, one of whom is draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat, in the No 10 library.

The newspaper quoted a source who claimed that many staff were huddled by computers in their Downing Street offices, conferring on questions and drinking alcohol while the quiz was taking place.

Tier 2 restrictions that London was under on December 15 stated that there could be no mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles, and a maximum of six people outside.

Official guidance set out that there should not be work lunches or parties “where that is a primarily social activity” and was not exempted for “work purposes”.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “Despite repeated denials of parties in Number 10, it has now transpired that there were numerous parties, gatherings and the Prime Minister even took part in a festive quiz.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said Covid rules were respected, after an image appeared of the PM taking part in a No 10 staff quiz Credit: James Manning/PA

“It appears that Boris Johnson lied to the country and broke the law.

“It is increasingly clear that the Prime Minister presided over a culture of ignoring the rules that he told everyone else to follow. It’s time to fess up.

“Boris Johnson and the Conservatives really believe it’s one rule for them, another for everyone else.”

But Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi defended the Tory Party leader, telling broadcasters on Sunday that the virtual event had respected the rules.

It comes as The Sun said Mr Johnson and his-then fiancee Carrie Johnson had been seen flouting coronavirus lockdown rules during a dinner at a London restaurant in October 2020.

The paper quotes eyewitnesses who said Mr Johnson was seen approaching the tables of other guests while not wearing a face covering, and that the couple did not leave the premises until after the 10pm curfew had passed.

The Sun reports Mr Johnson and Carrie Johnson had been seen flouting coronavirus rules during a dinner in London in Oct 2020. Credit: PA

At the time, venues in the capital were subject to strict rules which, as well as the curfew, required diners to wear face coverings when moving around and banned different households mixing.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “It is categorically untrue to suggest the PM did not adhere to curfew rules in place at the time.

“Any small delay would have been for operational security reasons.”