Boris Johnson ‘commuted’ in March 2020 after telling the public to stay home

Boris Johnson ‘commuted’ between Downing Street and his official Checkers country residence during the first period of Covid lockdown – even after telling the public to stay home, No 10 admitted.

The Prime Minister has been traveling to and from his Grace and Favor mansion in Buckinghamshire for more than 10 days after first asking the country to stop non-essential travel on March 16, 2020.

Asked about the period between March 16 and March 27, 2020, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “At this time Ms Johnson was heavily pregnant and had been placed in a vulnerable category and advised to minimize social contact. “

No 10 added: ‘As per clinical guidelines and to minimize risk to her, they were based at Checkers during this period with the Prime Minister traveling to Downing Street for work.’

On March 16, 2020, Mr Johnson told the public to ‘cease non-essential contact and travel’.

The Prime Minister announced the first confinement on March 23, 2020 with the order: “You must stay at home”. On March 26, 2020, laws came into effect prohibiting people from visiting second homes.

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie used Checkers during the first period of lockdown and country residence staff contracted Covid at the time, sources have said Turtle Media, who first reported on the prime minister’s “journeys” on Friday.

The Prime Minister tested positive for Covid on March 27, 2020 and headed into a period of self-isolation in his Downing Street flat.

Downing Street denied that the rules were broken by the Prime Minister’s movements during the period. A spokesperson for No 10 said: ‘This claim that the Prime Minister has failed to adhere to lockdown rules and guidelines is completely incorrect.’

Pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson amid new allegations that drink-out events took place in Downing Street last April – the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, when strict Covid measures were still in effect in place.

No 10 apologized to Buckingham Palace for the gatherings on April 16, 2021 – the day before the Queen came to the funeral alone – but declined to say whether Mr Johnson knew about it.

Separately, the former head of the government unit tasked with making Covid rules has apologized for hosting a leaving event during the 2020 Christmas lockdown.

Kate Josephs, ex-head of the government’s Covid-19 task force at the Cabinet Office, admitted she gathered colleagues for her own leaving event on December 17, 2020.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is drawing up a list of officials to offer resignations over the partygate scandal in the coming weeks as he fights to save his job as Prime Minister, The Independent has learned.

Dubbed ‘Operation Save Big Dog’ by the Prime Minister, the plan includes a campaign to determine who should leave after senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report is published, sources say.

Martin Reynolds, his private secretary and author of the ‘BYOB’ email, and Dan Rosenfield, Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, have both been noted as making a possible exit.

Several Conservative MPs have said The Independent they expected Mr Johnson to cling to power until Ms Gray’s report, and did not believe the 54 letters of censure needed to trigger a challenge to the leadership would be sent to the head of the committee of MPs in 1922 backbench next week.

A Conservative backbencher said The Independent that he was ‘about’ to send a letter of censure – and warned the Prime Minister that there could soon be a ‘tsunami’ of letters. “It depends on how damning Sue Gray’s report is, or if any more revelations come out – party pics would be very bad.”

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