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Three people have dramatically blown the whistle on what really happened behind No 10 during the height of the pandemic, when it is alleged rules were regularly broken with the prime minister’s ‘implicit permission’.

Insiders at Downing Street lockdown parties have described how staff crowded together, sat on each other’s laps and mocked colleagues who tried to stop what was going on during regular events.

Speaking to BBC Panorama on the condition of anonymity, the staffers described arriving for work the morning after a get-together to find bottles lying around parts of the building, bins overflowing with rubbish and empties left on the table.

They say the parties were routine and some went on so late that people ended up staying in Downing Street all night.

‘They were every week,’ one said, adding: ‘The event invites for Friday press office drinks were just nailed into the diary.’

The invitation was known as ‘WTF’ – meaning ‘Wine-Time Friday’ – and a reference to a less polite acronym.

However, drinking wasn’t limited to Fridays.

The insiders blamed the culture of rule breaking on the prime minister (Picture: AFP)

One former official described turning up at work in No 10 often to find ‘a mess’.

They told the BBC: ‘There were bottles, empties, rubbish – in the bin, but overflowing – or indeed sometimes left on the table.’

The extraordinary claims come a day after a bombshell photo showed Boris Johnson raising a glass in a room full of people for a leaving do for Lee Cain, the former Comms director, on November 13 2020.

Describing this event, one insider said the PM attended and made a speech to thank Mr Cain, but as the party developed ‘there were about 30 people, if not more, in a room. Everyone was stood shoulder to shoulder, some people on each other’s laps…one or two people.’

The Met Police is facing questions as to why it didn’t fine the prime minister over this event, when others have been judged to have broken the law for being there and received penalties.

More: Boris Johnson

The insiders said socialising was regular with what they felt was Mr Johnson’s ‘implicit permission’.

They detailed another ‘lively event’ on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral on April 16, 2021, which they described as ‘a general party with people dancing around’.

The gathering became so loud that security guards in the building allegedly told them to leave the building and go into the No 10 grounds.

‘So everyone grabbed all the drinks, the food, everything, and went into the garden,’ a source said.

‘We all sat around the tables drinking. People stayed the night there.’

The insiders conceded their actions were ‘unforgivable’. But they said it was difficult to raise concerns,  described how a Downing Street security guard was mocked when they tried to stop a party in full flow.

One of the witnesses said: ‘I remember when a custodian tried to stop it all and he was just shaking his head in this party, being like, “This shouldn’t be happening”.

‘People made fun of him because he was so worked up that this party was happening and it shouldn’t be happening.’

All three painted a picture of Downing Street as a ‘bubble’ where the rules ‘didn’t apply’, reports the BBC.

They blamed the culture of rule-breaking on the prime minister, suggesting he ‘wanted to be liked’ and for staff to be able to ‘let their hair down’.

They said he would often pop through to events on the way to his flat – and never told people to break up and go home.

An insider said: ‘He wasn’t saying, “Can everyone break up and go home? Can everyone socially distance? Can everyone put masks on?”

‘No, he wasn’t telling anybody that. He was grabbing a glass for himself.’

Downing Street have declined to comment but said they would give a full response to the publication of the Sue Gray report into the parties, which is expected to be published tomorrow.

Last week, the Met concluded its own investigation after issuing 126 fines – including one for the prime minister for attending a birthday party in June 2020.

Mr Johnson is facing a third investigation into whether he lied to parliament when he claimed in the House of Commons that rules were followed ‘at all times’.

One staffer described ‘watching in disbelief’ when the PM denied the parties took place after reports of the gatherings started to emerge last year.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow soon… Check back shortly for further updates.

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