Boris Johnson was “ambushed with a cake” and was not having a “premeditated” birthday party, a supporter of the prime minister has said as the excuses for his alleged bash during lockdown reached a new level.
The PM’s wife Carrie reportedly arranged a surprise birthday party in Downing Street’s Cabinet Room with up to 30 people present for the prime minister on June 19, 2020.
At the time, the government’s Covid restrictions stated only six people could meet, and it had to be outdoors.
No.10 has not denied this gathering took place but claimed it was just Downing Street staff who “gathered briefly”, and Johnson was only present for 10 minutes.
On Tuesday, the government front bench was out in force defending the prime minister’s position, and it was Conor Burns, the Northern Ireland minister and a long-standing ally, who was tasked with the evening rounds.
On Channel 4 News, he told Cathy Newman: “It was not a premeditated, organised party in that sense, that the prime minister himself decided to have sent out …”
Newman interjected: “Well, invites were sent out.”
Burns responded: “Well, as far as I can see, he was in a sense, ambushed with a cake.”
A Labour source told HuffPost UK: “The defining moment of the Johnson government. Who could have predicted it would end like this – except of course, everyone?”
Some cabinet ministers have already rallied around Johnson to defend him – including transport secretary Grant Shapps and environment secretary George Eustice – and culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ comments seemed particularly out of tune with public sentiment. But Burns’ comments take the biscuit (or cake).