No 10 staff wouldn’t swap pens but happy to pass drinks, says Johnson

No 10 staff would not even touch each other’s pens in the office during lockdown, only to then happily pass bottles between themselves when they gathered for drinks, Boris Johnson has admitted.

The former prime minister told the Privileges Committee that staff had done their best to avoid physical contact when they were working in line with the guidance at the time.

But he acknowledged that photographs taken inside Downing Street during various leaving dos and other gatherings painted a rather different picture.

Committee chairwoman Harriet Harman retorted: “Presumably people were passing drinks to each other, because we have seen the picture?”

Mr Johnson replied: “Of course, this is guidance. I’m not going to pretend it was enforced rigidly, but that’s explicitly what the guidance provides for.”

Asked about the absence of visible precautions in the photographs of one leaving do, he said: “You don’t see Perspex screens there but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t sanitiser and efforts to restrict the spread of Covid.”

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