A champagne bottle signed by Boris Johnson and described as being a “souvenir of partygate” was reportedly auctioned off at a charity event. Food critic Jay Rayner urged his followers to “read the description” alongside what looks like a description from a catalogue.
He said: “Perhaps you thought the Conservative party took partygate seriously. Last night a champagne bottle signed by Boris Johnson was donated to a charity event in Hertfordshire by local MP and Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden.”
Beneath the title “Bottle of champagne signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson”, the description read: “A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the exemplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader! Donated by: Oliver Dowden”.
The auction was held on the same day it was announced that around 50 more fines have been issued by police investigating possible lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and across Whitehall. That means the total number of fines is now more than 100, including Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak who were hit with fixed penalty notices in April over a birthday party held for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room in No 10 in June 2020.
Mr Johnson didn’t receive another fine in this latest round, but the police investigation continues. Read more here.
After the picture was shared one person did point out: “I’ve no wish to defend any of them – but that looks more like they’ve simply donated a signed bottle of champagne and the raffle organisers have chosen that wording.”
Mr Dowden, who has been the MP for Hertsmere since 2015 and co-chairman of the Conservative Party since 2021, confirmed he donated the item – but had no knowledge of the description.
The MP’s spokesperson said: “This item was donated in good faith several months ago for a local charity auction.
“Oliver Dowden had no prior knowledge of the description and this is obviously not his view.”