A top civil servant who runs Boris Johnson‘s private office is being lined up to become the ‘fall guy’ for the No 10 Partygate row, senior sources have said.

Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, is expected to be moved after the Cabinet Office concludes its investigation into whether rules were broken at a series of No 10 gatherings during Covid lockdowns. 

One option being explored is to hand Mr Reynolds a senior diplomatic role, possibly at ambassador level.

Mr Reynolds was pictured sitting with the Prime Minister and his then fiancee, Carrie Symonds, at a ‘cheese and wine’ party held in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020. 

Martin Reynolds (above), the Prime Minister's principal private secretary, is expected to be moved after the Cabinet Office concludes its investigation into whether rules were broken at a series of No 10 gatherings during Covid lockdowns

Martin Reynolds (above), the Prime Minister's principal private secretary, is expected to be moved after the Cabinet Office concludes its investigation into whether rules were broken at a series of No 10 gatherings during Covid lockdowns

Martin Reynolds (above), the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, is expected to be moved after the Cabinet Office concludes its investigation into whether rules were broken at a series of No 10 gatherings during Covid lockdowns

One option being explored is to hand Mr Reynolds a senior diplomatic role, possibly at ambassador level

One option being explored is to hand Mr Reynolds a senior diplomatic role, possibly at ambassador level

One option being explored is to hand Mr Reynolds a senior diplomatic role, possibly at ambassador level

Mr Reynolds was pictured sitting with the Prime Minister and his then fiancee, Carrie Symonds, at a 'cheese and wine' party held in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020. (Above, the PM and his wife last October)

Mr Reynolds was pictured sitting with the Prime Minister and his then fiancee, Carrie Symonds, at a 'cheese and wine' party held in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020. (Above, the PM and his wife last October)

Mr Reynolds was pictured sitting with the Prime Minister and his then fiancee, Carrie Symonds, at a ‘cheese and wine’ party held in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020. (Above, the PM and his wife last October)

It has also been reported that he sent an email invitation for a separate garden party five days later.

Dominic Cummings, the former No 10 senior adviser, revealed the party on Friday in a blog, and claimed he warned colleagues at the time that the gathering broke lockdown rules and should not have gone ahead.

He said he wrote the warning in an email that could be discovered by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is investigating the allegations that parties were held.

On the day of the May 20 garden party, Oliver Dowden, then Culture Secretary, urged the public to meet only one other person outdoors and stick to social-distancing rules.

Ms Gray replaced Cabinet Secretary Simon Case in leading the Whitehall investigation after allegations emerged of staff meeting for drinks in his own office in Whitehall. 

In his blog, Dominic Cummings (above) wrote: 'On Wednesday 20 May... a senior No 10 official invited people to 'socially distanced drinks' in the garden,' adding that he had emailed 'that this seemed to be against the rules and should not happen… [it is] in writing so Sue Gray can dig up the original email'

In his blog, Dominic Cummings (above) wrote: 'On Wednesday 20 May... a senior No 10 official invited people to 'socially distanced drinks' in the garden,' adding that he had emailed 'that this seemed to be against the rules and should not happen… [it is] in writing so Sue Gray can dig up the original email'

In his blog, Dominic Cummings (above) wrote: ‘On Wednesday 20 May… a senior No 10 official invited people to ‘socially distanced drinks’ in the garden,’ adding that he had emailed ‘that this seemed to be against the rules and should not happen… [it is] in writing so Sue Gray can dig up the original email’

On the day of the May 20 garden party, Oliver Dowden (pictured), then Culture Secretary, urged the public to meet only one other person outdoors and stick to social-distancing rules

On the day of the May 20 garden party, Oliver Dowden (pictured), then Culture Secretary, urged the public to meet only one other person outdoors and stick to social-distancing rules

On the day of the May 20 garden party, Oliver Dowden (pictured), then Culture Secretary, urged the public to meet only one other person outdoors and stick to social-distancing rules

Mr Johnson has always denied knowledge of any rule-breaking. 

A source said: ‘It had already been decided to move Martin, but the plan at the moment is to wait until the Gray report – which is bound to be critical – to help distract from other people who she might criticise.’

The email allegedly sent by Mr Reynolds inviting people to a party on May 20 is believed to have been wiped from No 10’s system. 

One source said it was an invitation to a ‘knees-up’, while another said it described an ‘informal get-together’, with officials encouraged to ‘bring your own booze’.

In his blog, Mr Cummings wrote: ‘On Wednesday 20 May… a senior No 10 official invited people to ‘socially distanced drinks’ in the garden,’ adding that he had emailed ‘that this seemed to be against the rules and should not happen… [it is] in writing so Sue Gray can dig up the original email’.

Mr Cummings left Downing Street in November 2020 after a bitter power struggle with Mr Johnson’s future wife, Carrie.

Source: Daily Mail

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