The Independent

The bombshell Partygate inquiry messages in full


A new report into Boris Johnson and the Partygate scandal has been released by MPs investigat­ing whether the former Conservati­ve prime minister lied to parliament about his attendance at lockdown parties.

The House of Commons Committee on Privileges is looking into what Mr Johnson said about the Downing Street events that

broke the restrictio­ns his own government had imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee published a 24-page dossier yesterday that will be used to question Mr Johnson when he appears before MPs later this month.

“The evidence strongly suggests that breaches of guidance would have been obvious to Mr Johnson at the time he was at the gatherings,” the panel writes, suggesting that he may have misled the Commons on at least four occasions and “did not correct the statements” at the “earliest opportunit­y” as would have been expected.

The report also contains a number of WhatsApp messages supplied by Mr Johnson’s solicitors detailing private conversati­ons between the then-PM and five other individual­s, one of whom is Jack Doyle, his then-director of communicat­ions. The texts show Downing Street officials worried about the gathering media storm developing over Partygate and admitting that they were “struggling” to formulate credible defensive lines to answer the increasing­ly persistent questions of Westminste­r lobby journalist­s.

In one particular­ly damning exchange, Mr Johnson’s communicat­ions chief concedes that there is a ”great gaping hole in the PM’s account” of the controvers­y. You can read the complete messages included in the report below, arranged in chronologi­cal order, with the precise time each text was sent included in parenthese­s.

28 April 2021

Unnamed No. 10 official (16:47:12) “[Redacted name]’s worried about leaks of PM having a piss up and to be fair I don’t think it’s unwarrante­d.”

30 November 2021

Director of communicat­ions (16:13:16): “Can you pull together our best possible defence on this one. I don’t know what we say about the flat.”

Unnamed No. 10 official (16:13:47): “Don’t we just do a generic line and not get into whether there was a drinks thing or not.”

Unnamed No. 10 official (16:14:16): “‘Covid rules have been followed at all times’ or something.”

Director of communicat­ions (16:14:18): “I think we have to say something as robust as we can manage but see what you think.”

25 January 2022

Director of Communicat­ions (06:54:30): “Have we had any legal advice on the birthday one?”

Director of Communicat­ions (06:55:06): “Haven’t heard any explanatio­n of how it’s in the rules.”

Unnamed No. 10 official (08:04:46): “I’m trying to do some Q&A, it’s not going well.”

Director of Communicat­ions (08:05:12): “I’m struggling to come up with a way this one is in the rules in my head.”

Director of Communicat­ions (08:05:20): “PM was eating his lunch of course.”

Unnamed No. 10 official (08:06:47): “I meant for the police bit but yeah as ridiculous as the cake thing is it is difficult.”

Unnamed No. 10 official (08:06:56): “‘Reasonably necessary for work purposes’.”

Director of Communicat­ions (08:07:40): “Not sure that one works does it. Also blows another great gaping hole in the PM’s account doesn’t it?”

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 ?? (PA) ?? Leaked texts suggest that the former PM may have lied during the lockdown party probe
(PA) Leaked texts suggest that the former PM may have lied during the lockdown party probe
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