Home Somerset rules No 10 employees drink weekly during pandemic on ‘wine hour Fridays’, report says

No 10 employees drink weekly during pandemic on ‘wine hour Fridays’, report says


Staff at Number 10 celebrated ‘wine Fridays’ during the Covid pandemic, it emerged in another damaging revelation – and they even invested in a £142 fridge to keep their drinks cold.

Boris Johnson is believed to have witnessed the rallies, been programmed into the electronic calendars of around 50 No 10 staff between 4pm and 7pm each week and encouraged aides to ‘let off steam’.

It happened despite indoor socializing being banned under lockdown rules.

A photo shows the £142 cooler – used to store white wine, Prosecco and beer – delivered through the back door of Downing Street on December 11, 2020, reports The Mirror.

Sources said the gatherings sometimes went on until midnight with up to two dozen helpers drinking wine and beer and playing games like Pictionary.

The Prime Minister is said to have attended a ‘handful’ of gatherings at times when indoor socializing was banned under lockdown rules.

A photo has emerged of a wine fridge being delivered to Downing Street

These include an event on November 13, 2020, the day Dominic Cummings walked out of No 10, when he stayed for a glass of wine and chatted with the team.

It was previously reported that staff brought a suitcase to a supermarket to stock up on alcohol ahead of a party on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.

Sources said aides took turns visiting the local Tesco Underground in Westminster on Fridays with a wheeled suitcase to fill the 34-bottle capacity fridge.

Today (Friday January 14), Downing Street apologized to Buckingham Palace over revelations that two going away parties were held in Downing Street on April 16, the day before the Duke of Edinburgh was buried.

One was for Mr Johnson’s top spin doctor, James Slack, and another for the Prime Minister’s photographer.

‘Wine Fridays’ are a Downing Street tradition, The Mirror said, and have happened under previous administrations, but have continued even after lockdown restrictions were introduced.

It was organized by Press Office No. 10, but periodically councilors from other parts of the building joined.

Sources said a regular attendee when strict mixing rules were in place was Captain Steve Higham, then the Prime Minister’s defense adviser.

The Royal Navy officer now commands the new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, the UK’s largest warship.

The Ministry of Defense declined to comment.

A photo has emerged of a wine fridge being delivered to Downing Street
A photo has emerged of a wine fridge being delivered to Downing Street

“Wine hour” would have been particularly popular from fall 2020 to spring 2021, sources said.

No 10 insiders said the Prime Minister often witnessed ‘wine hour Fridays’ on his way to the Downing Street flat.

A source said: “Boris used to stop and chat while they had a drink.

It was on the way to her apartment and the door was usually open. He knew it and encouraged it.

Another added: “He could see everyone sitting there drinking while walking.

“He would walk in and say ‘Hello everyone had a rough week? Let off steam? Oh great.’

“The idea that he didn’t know there were drinks is complete nonsense. If the Prime Minister tells you to ‘chill out’, he’s basically saying that’s fine.”

Whitehall Ethics Officer Sue Gray is conducting a party inquiry in Downing Street.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “An investigation is underway to establish the facts regarding the nature of the gatherings, including attendance, setting and purpose by reference to compliance with the guidelines at the time. The conclusions will be made public in due course. »

For more stories of where you live, visit In your region.