After a long hard day at the office Boris Johnson’s staff ask him once again whether he would like a cup of tea. He reclines in his office chair, looking up from his conversation with Dominic Cummings.
“But it’s 6 – you mean would I like a G&T.” Cummings, sitting on the other side of the desk, with his feet resting upon it, laughs and says, “make that two actually”. The frazzled woman rushes out of the office to make the G&T, before returning home to her husband before he races off to his night shift at the Nightingale hospital.
20 minutes later:
Hancock walks in, pouring himself a G&T from the antique wooden side cabinet.
Boris asks, “How’s the lady?”
Hancock smirks, looks up and says, “Which one?”
They all file out to the Rose Garden. The kitchen staff have set up picnic tables, complete with Waitrose’s finest cheese selection. The vintage port is brought up from the Downing Street wine cellar. They ask Boris if this is the right one. He inspects it, bringing it to his nose – no face mask in sight. “I asked for the ‘10 not the ‘08” he grumbles brushing the SPAD away.
More MPs arrive through the side gate – Boris had emailed in advance, “side gate open to avoid the paps, BYOB, but don’t worry about the cheese – that’s on the taxpayer tonight.”
As the “work meeting” gets increasingly rowdy the Met officer stationed at the front door gets suspicious. Last week he was on a different shift when he was called out to university halls to shut down parties – he ended up fining 20 teary students £400 each, each begging with him to make exceptions. He said he couldn’t. He had strict instructions from Priti Patel. Speaking of the devil, he had seen her 10 minutes ago, staggering to the bathroom clutching a chunk of aged cheddar and crackers. He decided there was no option but to go round to the Rose Garden and check out what was going on.
He walks in, observing the scene. In the corner, behind the tree he could see Hancock mid make-out session. He noted the clear lack of social distancing. The cabinet ministers don’t even notice him entering over the sound of Bach in the background. Boris turned around slurring “what are you doing here?”
“Sir, I am afraid lockdown restrictions mean you cannot be having this many people together. This is awkward Sir, but under any other circumstances I would have to fine you according to the rules you made for the country. But as you’re the PM, I am not quite sure what the protocol is here.”
Patel, returning from the bathroom interjects: “It’s fine don’t you worry about. I’ll have my people sort that out, saves you the effort. Why don’t you join us instead? There’s some red over there you’re welcome to. We’ll get you another glass”.
Shortly after, an exasperated Carrie walks in and gestures to Boris “Come on babe, I told you, we had baby things to sort out tonight. For Christ’s sake, I asked you to be back in 25 and it’s been well over an hour. And now you’re drunk.”
As Boris scurries after his exasperated wife, he turns back, grinning, to his peers “same time, next week?”.
Illustration by Harriet Getley