Another photo adds to British PM Johnson's woes as partygate rolls on

The furore over the saga has left Mr Boris Johnson battling for his premiership. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - A photo emerged showing Mr Boris Johnson at a Christmas event in December 2020, adding to pressure on the British Prime Minister as he faces a police probe into allegations of rule-breaking gatherings in Downing Street during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The image, published on Wednesday (Feb 9) by the Daily Mirror newspaper, shows Mr Johnson standing next to his staff with food and what looks like an open champagne bottle on a table.

One of the aides is draped in tinsel and another appears with a Santa hat.

The photo appears to be from a Christmas event hosted on Dec 15, which Mr Johnson's office has described as a "virtual quiz" in which he "briefly took part".

At the time, pandemic rules in place in London banned social mixing between households.

The regulations also stated: "Although there are exemptions for work purposes, you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity."

Later on Wednesday, London's Metropolitan Police said it is reviewing its decision not to include the Christmas quiz in the dozen gatherings it is investigating.

The furore over the saga, dubbed partygate in British media, has left Mr Johnson battling for his premiership, with an increasing number of his own Members of Parliament calling for him to quit.

A preliminary civil service report into the matter identified "failures of leadership and judgment" at the top of Mr Johnson's administration and criticised a culture of "excessive" drinking.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray had to hold back her full findings because of the police probe.

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson brushed off the photo in his weekly question-and-answer session with lawmakers in Parliament, saying "that event already has been submitted for investigation".

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