Edward Argar grilled over Downing Street lockdown 'gathering'
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Former colleagues have said that the former Downing Street advisor and Vote Leave mastermind will “strike” every time the Prime Minister is on the “front foot”. It comes as Mr Johnson is facing renewed controversy over allegations, first made by Mr Cummings, that a lockdown rule-breaking gathering was attended by the Prime Minister and his wife in May 2020.
Andrew Pierce, journalist and GB News anchor, reported on Tuesday that Mr Cummings “will not rest” until the Prime Minister and his wife Carrie Johnson have left.
In a blog post on Friday, Mr Cummings claimed that there were “socially distanced drinks” held in the Number 10 garden on May 20, 2020.
He alleged that he and “at least one other spad [special advisor]” warned “in writing” that it “seemed to be against the rules and should not happen”.
However, the advice was “ignored”, he said.
He added: “I was ill and went home to bed early that afternoon but am told this event definitely happened.”
Mr Cummings commented: “In my opinion the official who organised this should anyway have been removed that summer because of his failures over Covid. I said this repeatedly to the PM.”
However, he claimed that Boris Johnson “rejected my argument”.
ITV News was later given an image of an email invitation from Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, to over 100 members of staff, as well as Mr and Mrs Johnson.
It provided evidence that the now-notorious “bring your own booze” event took place.
In the email, Mr Reynolds said: “After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.
“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”
In May 2020, the UK was still in its first nationwide lockdown. However, the laws were slowly being relaxed.
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From May 13, people were permitted to leave home for outdoor recreation beyond just exercise and essential trips.
Government guidance at the time stated people could meet “where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should try to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace”.
Mr Pierce wrote in the Mail that a long-time associate of Mr Cummings said: “Dominic was plotting and scheming even before he left No10. He is consumed with a visceral loathing of Boris. This is all about his revenge for the humiliation of being sacked.”
His associate added: “Dominic will not rest until Boris and Carrie have left.
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“He has an electric library bulging with damaging memos, texts and emails, which he will release at carefully timed moments to undermine Boris.”
An ex-colleague commented: “Every time Boris gets back on the front foot, Cummings will strike. He will have been alarmed by a couple of recent polls showing the Tories coming back against Labour. He knows the new Partygate row will sink the recovery.”
When he left Downing Street as an advisor in November the same year, he was pictured carrying a large cardboard box.
Another former colleague said: “There was more than one smoking gun in that.
“He was taunting us. We should have bloody confiscated it on security grounds.”
One senior Tory said: “Campaigning is where Cummings thrives and he’s showing it against Boris who’s on the ropes.
“Dominic falls out with everyone because he’s like an evangelist who is 100 percent certain of his own beliefs. Everyone else is inferior to Dominic’s intellect, in his view.”
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