After lying low for a couple of days, Boris Johnson was forced out in to the open to appear at prime minister’s questions and was finally obliged to provide an explanation for why he attended the Downing Street party on 20 May 2020.
First he gave a half-hearted, insincere apology for any wrongdoing people may have perceived him to make. Not for the breaches of the law and the lying to both parliament and the country.
Then he got to the details of the party. Or rather the party that was not a party. What we were asked to believe was that Johnson was one of the stupidest men alive, and had failed to notice he had been at a party until alerted to it by a leak to the press more than 18 months later.
Here was the chronology. He definitely hadn’t authorised or read the email inviting everyone at No 10 to the party – why would he bother with anything sent by his principal private secretary? – and the “we” in the invitation in no way suggested it might have come from the prime minister.
Then, completely coincidentally, he had wandered downstairs to where the party was being held. Once there he had done a double-take and just assumed it was a “work event”. After all it was completely normal to find trestle tables in the garden stacked with sausage rolls and booze and people getting pissed at work events.
That his wife had also been there with two friends had only reinforced his impression it was a work event. As had the complaints from some admin staff the next day at having to clear up the empties from the flowerbeds.
Alarmingly, his cabinet – with the exception of Rishi Sunak – are just as dim as they appeared quite comfortable with such obvious bollocks. No 10 was a special case, they said, because it was both a home and an office. Well, so is my mum’s care home and no one had a party there.