Wine Time Fridays now banned at Downing Street and £142 booze fridge ‘disappears’

Wine Time Fridays at Downing Street have been effectively banned – while a £142 fridge bought to store alcohol at Number 10 has also disappeared, it is understood. The fact staff indulged in boozy sessions at the end of the week was highlighted in Sue Gray’s ‘Partygate’ report, finally published in full yesterday (Wednesday, May 25).

Ms Gray described officials drinking so heavily they were sick, became involved in altercations and abused security and cleaning staff. Her inquiry also detailed how staff carried on drinking in No 10 until the early hours at parties on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, with the last person not leaving until 4.20am.

The Mirror reports that, when asked if Wine Time Fridays were now banned, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “In effect yes, because alcohol consumption on No10 for staff is not permitted. The only distinction being with regards to formal events.”

In January, The Mirror revealed that staff invested in a £142 fridge to keep bottles of white wine, Prosecco and beer cool. Today the PM’s official spokesman reportedly said: “I don’t think we have the fridge anymore.”

It comes after the Prime Minister told Tory MPs on Wednesday that Britain may not have won the Second World War if there had been a booze ban in Downing Street under Winston Churchill. The PA news agency reported a source in the room as saying: “He made the point he’s not a big drinker himself but had alcohol been banned in 1940 we might not have won the Second World War.”

The spokesman declined to publish new guidance on alcohol for civil servants, which was published after Sue Gray’s interim report earlier this year. But he said it makes clear “excessive consumption” or “sufficient consumption to impair judgement” is not acceptable.

He added “occasional and limited consumption” may be acceptable in some circumstances. Asked if staff will be breathalysed, he replied: “No, there will need to be an element of judgement here.”

“There are new rules with regard to alcohol consumption in No 10 and new guidance across Whitehall. Social events will continue but obviously within the new rules,” the spokesman said. “Alcohol consumption in No 10 for staff is not permitted. The only distinction being for formal events – visits from world leaders.”

Leave a Comment