Can ‘Party Marty’ REALLY be an ambassador after damming Partygate verdict? Ministers refuse to be drawn on former No10 official’s fate after he boasted of ‘getting away with’ BYOB bash in Downing Street garden
- There are fresh questions over the future of PM’s ex-aide dubbed ‘Party Marty’
- Martin Reynolds is lined up to become Britain’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia
- It has been revealed he boasted of having ‘got away with’ a Number 10 booze-up
Ministers today remained tight-lipped on the future of the ex-Downing Street aide, known as ‘Party Marty’, after it was revealed he boasted of having ‘got away with’ a Number 10 booze-up.
Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s former Principal Private Secretary, is lined up to become Britain’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia after leaving Downing Street as part of the Partygate scandal.
But there have further questions about Mr Reynolds’ possible new job following the release of Sue Gray’s damning report into Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street.
The senior civil servant’s 37-page document revealed Mr Reynolds full role in organising a ‘bring your own booze’ event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, at the height of Britain’s first national lockdown.
Mr Reynolds emailed around 200 staff across Number 10 to invite them to ‘make the most of this lovely weather’ with some ‘socially distanced drinks’ on 20 May.
At the time, the public were only allowed to meet one other person from another household outdoors for exercise.
Ms Gray’s report also revealed how another Number 10 aide urged Mr Reynolds to ensure people were not ‘walking around waving bottles of wine’ at a time when TV cameras would be leaving Downing Street after that evenings Covid press conference.
Mr Reynolds, who supplied wine for the party, replied: ‘Will do my best!’
Martin Reynolds was dubbed ‘Party Marty’ after he invited around 200 staff to a ‘bring your own booze’ bash in the Downing Street garden during the first national lockdown
The PM’s former Principal Private Secretary, is reportedly lined up to become Britain’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Days before the ‘BYOB’ bash, Mr Reynolds was pictured in the Downing Street garden with the PM, Carrie Johnson and Dominic Cummings. The PM brought cheese and wine from his flat
Other warnings were also given to Mr Reynolds about the planned event and it being a ‘comms risk’ as the rest of the UK was locked down.
Later on, in the days after the boozy garden party, Mr Reynolds was revealed to have boasted of having ‘got away with’ the 20 May bash in a WhatsApp message with a special adviser.
In a press conference yesterday, following the publication of Ms Gray’s report, the PM refused to comment on those individuals named in the document.
And Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, Steve Barclay, today also declined to be drawn on reports Mr Reynolds was being lined up for an ambassador job.
Speaking to Sky News, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster insisted the PM ‘wouldn’t have seen those emails and messages’ sent to, and from, Mr Reynolds about the 20 May bash.
Mr Barclay added that he himself was ‘shocked to read them’.
But, asked about Mr Reynolds’ future, he replied: ‘It’s not appropriate and it never has been under successive administrations for ministers start commenting on individual, HR matters… these will be for the Civil Service to take forward.’
He added: ‘Most of the people named in this report have actually left the Civil Service.
‘In terms of one or two individuals that are still there, as I said, I don’t think it’s appropriate, as a minister, to start speculating.’
Mr Reynolds was among a slew of senior aides to resign their Number 10 roles in February this year as part of the Partygate fall-out.
The senior civil servant, a former ambassador to Libya, has since returned to a job in the Foreign Office.