BORIS Johnson has been branded the “ringleader” of a party on Downing Street after a fresh report suggested he was the instigator of a leaving bash during a winter lockdown.

According to the Sunday Times, the Prime Minister is expected to deliver a statement when MPs return to the Commons on Tuesday. He will not deny wrongdoing but will cite contemporary events such as the war in Ukraine in an attempt to dissuade Tory rebels from ousting him. 

But the newspaper also revealed fresh claims that Johnson was not only present at a leaving do for his former press chief but that he led the celebrations.

It comes after the Tory leader, his wife Carrie, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all issued with – and paid – fines for attending a birthday bash held for the Prime Minister in June 2020.

The Sunday Times reported the Prime Minister’s official photographer had captured photographs of Johnson holding a beer at the gathering, and Sunak with a soft drink.

But Johnson is understood to have been present at at least six of the 12 events being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for breaking Covid rules, and is braced for more fines potentially to come.

One of those included in Operation Hillman is a leaving do for the former director of communications at No 10, Lee Cain, on November 13, 2020.

A source suggested to the Sunday Times this had started as the press office having drinks to finish off the week, but turned into a party once the Prime Minister arrived, poured drinks and made a speech.

The newspaper said a No 10 source did not deny the characterisation of the gathering, but denied Johnson was the instigator.

The National: A leaving do for Lee Cain is among the events being investigated by policeA leaving do for Lee Cain is among the events being investigated by police

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The Sunday Mirror said No 10 had refused to answer questions about the birthday gathering submitted through a freedom of information request, because of national security reasons.

Downing Street declined to comment when approached by the PA news agency and has repeatedly said it would not comment until the police investigation concludes.

Reacting on Twitter, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner wrote: “If true, this means he not only attended the parties, but was a ringleader of at least one.”

She added in a statement: “While the British public was making huge sacrifices, Boris Johnson was breaking the law.

“If the latest reports are true, it would mean that not only did the Prime Minister attend parties, but he had a hand in instigating at least one of them. He has deliberately misled the British people at every turn.

“The Prime Minister has demeaned his office. The British people deserve better. While Labour has a plan for tackling the cost-of-living crisis, Tory MPs are too busy defending the indefensible actions of Boris Johnson.”

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday reports Johnson went straight from another lockdown bash in May 2020 – at which he was pictured enjoying wine and cheese in the No 10 garden – to a half-hour phone conversation with the Queen.

The Prime Minister previously said he went to the garden “just after 6pm … before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working”.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, No 10 says the Tory leader departed at that point to have a 28-minute phone call with the Queen, starting at 6.30pm.

Downing Street has, however, refused to say what Johnson did after the phone call was over. No 10 told the Mail on Sunday there would be a “general public interest” in doing so but claimed it would endanger the “safe space” in which the PM’s private office facilitates his work “without external interference or distraction”.