Senior aides implicated in partygate nominated for honours by Boris Johnson

10 Downing Street Credit: PA

A number of senior officials who were implicated in the partygate scandal have been nominated in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said it was “sickening” that those who held “boozy lockdown bashes” during the pandemic in Downing Street had been recognised by the former prime minister.

Martin Reynolds, formerly Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary in No 10, has been nominated for a peerage.

He has admitted emailing Downing Street staff to invite them to come for drinks in the No 10 garden to “make the most of this lovely weather” on May 20, 2020.

The “bring your own booze” event took place at a time when rules and guidance restricted gatherings of more than two people and workplaces were meant to maintain social distancing.

In his evidence to the Commons’ Privileges Committee investigation into whether Mr Johnson misled MPs over his response to the scandal, Mr Reynolds admitted the wording, which he has said he signed off but did not draft, had been “totally inappropriate”.

Conservative MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has been given a knighthood by Mr Johnson, said a peerage for Mr Reynolds was a “perfectly reasonable recognition” of his public service, while acknowledging he “may have made a mistake” in sending the email.

Shelley Williams-Walker, who was head of operations at No 10 during Mr Johnson’s premiership, has been made a dame.

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She was allegedly in charge of the music during one of two leaving dos held on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on April 16, 2021.

Ms Williams-Walker, who in October was named director of Mr Johnson’s private company that he set up after leaving Downing Street, was reportedly nicknamed “DJ SWW” during the party.

Some attendees were later fined by police for their participation, with socialising indoors banned at the time between people from other households, and when meeting others outdoors was limited to groups of six people or two households.

Jack Doyle, who was director of communications when the partygate story broke, will be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire as part of the honours roll.

A former Daily Mail political associate editor, Mr Doyle attended a “Secret Santa” event in the No 10 press office on December 18, 2020.

Former No 10 communications director Jack Doyle has been made an OBE. Credit: PA

At the time, indoor gatherings of two or more people from different households were prohibited.

Mr Johnson, in his Privileges Committee evidence, said it was Mr Doyle who first brought the allegations of lockdown gatherings to him in November 2021, informing the former Conservative Party leader that the Daily Mirror was preparing to publish an article about the press office gathering.

The Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP said he trusted the assurances of his communications chief at the time that the mid-pandemic Christmas party had been “within the rules”.

Mr Doyle has said he did not tell Mr Johnson that all coronavirus guidance was followed.

Shaun Bailey, who ran unsuccessfully for London mayor in 2021, has been handed a peerage.

Shaun Bailey photographed at the gathering Credit: Daily Mirror

The London Assembly member was pictured attending a lockdown busting party in December 2020 at Conservative Party headquarters.

Mr Bailey and Tory aides were seen posing for a photo while raising glasses beside buffet food, while indoor socialising was banned in the capital.

The police said in November that no fines would be issued to those who attended the festive gathering.

Ms Rayner said: “It’s a sickening insult that those who planned Covid parties and held boozy lockdown bashes while families were unable to mourn loved ones are now set to be handed gongs by Rishi Sunak.”

Downing Street said the Prime Minister “had no involvement or input into the approved list”.

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