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Gin from Chatham distillery spotted at alleged Downing Street lockdown party

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Gin from Chatham Dockyard was on the table at an alleged Downing Street lockdown party.

Depending on your political persuasion, you might call it an apt tipple for a man steering the country through uncharted waters, or a captain going down with the ship.

Copper Rivet Distillery director, Stephen Russell, took to Twitter after ITV News published pictures showing Boris Johnson raising a glass at a leaving party for Lee Cain, Johnson's then director of communications, on November 13 2020.

Exactly what was in the glass is unconfirmed, but Mr Russell is certain of at least one bottle on the table.

"It's come to our attention that the irresistible Dockyard Gin, made in Kent, is enjoyed wherever there is a party, or isn't a party, or work event," he tweeted, adding a winking emoji and "#Partygate".

Followers on twitter included @paulGf185, who responded: "It’s powerful but well worth it", while @the_rascal_king replied: "The people breaking the law certainly seem to think so."

The Prime Minister is facing fresh scrutiny and criticism in the wake of the pictures, having previously denied that a party had taken place on the date of the alleged event.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing fresh criticism over an alleged Downing Street gathering.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing fresh criticism over an alleged Downing Street gathering.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale once again called for him to resign while Tonbridge and Malling's Tom Tugendhat said the picture showed a lack of "seriousness" needed to govern a country.

But there was also defence offered for the Prime Minister's attendance.

While transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he found the picture "difficult to look at", he also said the fact the PM had a ministerial red box with him suggested he was "probably on his way through."

That argument didn't impress the likes of comedian David Baddiel, who asked "How much of this accidental partying can one man do? How many times can he walk into a room in the building he runs, and is supposed therefore to know what’s happening in it, and be surprised by a knees up in there and just join in for 10 minutes before rushing back to work?"

Boris isn't the first cabinet member to appreciate the work of the Copper Rivet Distillery.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak visited the Chatham distillery in May 2020, when he pledged the government would direct extra support to parts of the economy most affected by the lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak visits the Copper Rivet distillery in Chatham. Picture: HM Treasury/Simon Walker
Chancellor Rishi Sunak visits the Copper Rivet distillery in Chatham. Picture: HM Treasury/Simon Walker

As well as Dockyard Gin, the distillery produces a range of a drinks including Masthouse whiskies, Vela Vodka and a medium bodied spirit called Son of a Gun.

The distillery adapted during lockdown and made hand sanitiser which was used by the Metropolitan Police.

David Cameron quizzed by pupils at King's School in Rochester

As Boris Johnson faces some tough questions amid partygate, a former Prime Minister has been quizzed by school pupils.

David Cameron visited King’s in Rochester to give a talk and take part in a Q&A session with children and staff.

The school said Mr Cameron was an extremely engaging speaker, sharing with pupils some of the highs and lows of leading the country and the lessons that can be learned from his experiences.

Principal Ben Charles said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to welcome the former Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron to King’s on Tuesday.

"Mr Cameron provided significant insight into the challenges of leadership in a very honest and open manner giving our pupils a greater understanding of what it takes to have the 'top job.'

"We are hugely grateful to Peter, Lord Chadlington, a former pupil of King's, who worked in collaboration with us to host this important occasion in the life of the school.”

Aidon, one of the school's sixth formers, said: "Meeting David Cameron was invigorating. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that truly did not disappoint.

"His approachable manner meant that even the most daring questions we all had in mind could be voiced and answered."

The session began a new series of Chadlington Lectures at King’s, where high profile speakers from a variety of backgrounds come to share their life experiences and career choices.

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