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Nadine Dorries was quick to defend the prime minister and his alleged birthday party on Monday night – but there’s a strong chance it didn’t help.
Boris Johnson’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 19 June 2020.
Invitees allegedly included interior designer Lulu Lytle, who was not a member of a member of Downing Street staff, but was decorating the prime minister’s flat (the centre of a different No.10 scandal).
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.
Some cabinet ministers have already rallied around Johnson to defend him – including transport secretary Grant Shapps and environment secretary George Eustice – but it is the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, whose comments seemed particularly out of tune with public sentiment.
When the news broke last night, Dorries tweeted: “So, when people in an office buy a cake in the middle of the afternoon for someone else they are working in the office with and stop for ten minutes to sing happy birthday and then go back to their desks, this is now called a party?”
So, when people in an office buy a cake in the middle of the afternoon for someone else they are working in the office with and stop for ten minutes to sing happy birthday and then go back to their desks, this is now called a party?
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) January 24, 2022
And it was soon very clear that no-one really agreed with her.
But do you believe it was within the rules? That’s not clear from your tweet.
— Niall Paterson (@skynewsniall) January 24, 2022
Have you completely forgotten how strict the rules we all had to live under were? That your government imposed? I didn’t touch another human being for seven months - and I’m the most sociable person I know!
— Matthew Stadlen (@MatthewStadlen) January 24, 2022
Downing Street isn't ONE office.
If staff from multiple offices break their bubbles to all meet in one office for a birthday celebration, then YES that's a party and YES, that would be against the rules!
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) January 24, 2022
This particular party lasted about half an hour (though PM said to have attended for about 10 minutes); gathered people who do not work together in same room for a social purpose; organised by someone [spouse] who did not work there + designer came alonghttps://t.co/j2nIi8sQmy
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) January 25, 2022
Let’s not call it a party.
Let’s call it an illegal gathering. https://t.co/OjIi7cilGp
— Cllr Chris Burden (@WulfrunianChris) January 25, 2022
Betting her house on the Resignation Honours now. Horrible to see. https://t.co/ifgOwh5pd1
— James Oh Brien (@mrjamesob) January 24, 2022
It takes 10 minutes to sing happy birthday! Does that mean there are other verses that we don't know about? 😱 https://t.co/MCGK1Qz9KW
— Paul Dallison (@pdallisonesque) January 25, 2022
So, when 12 people vote in the middle of the jungle for someone else they are living in the jungle with to eat an ostrich’s anus and stop representing their citizens for three weeks and then go back to their constituency, this is now called the Culture Secretary? pic.twitter.com/jQhIWxcqG3
— Rosie Holt (@RosieisaHolt) January 24, 2022
Too right. A man can’t even invite his interior designer around for a 30 person birthday office meeting against the rules he wrote without the liberal media questioning why everyone’s wearing party hats.
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) January 24, 2022
Singing inside was against the rules. https://t.co/s4NrGZHMQY
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾💙 (@DawnButlerBrent) January 24, 2022
Listen to yourself. I’m actually embarrassed for you.
— Georgie Bingham (@georgiebingham) January 24, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.