Live News Jan. 24: US puts 8,500 troops on hold ahead of NATO meeting on Ukraine, Wall St actions reverse global sell-off to close higher, Johnson rattled by new allegation of the downing street lockdown party

Boris Johnson’s job as Prime Minister was plunged deeper into crisis on Monday after it emerged he had hosted a birthday party during England’s first lockdown of 2020, despite Covid rules to the era banning indoor social gatherings.

Johnson has always denied knowledge of parties in Downing Street, but he attended a surprise meeting in the cabinet room to celebrate his birthday in June of that year, with up to 30 guests.

The disclosure of the Downing Street celebration, first reported by ITV News and confirmed by the FT, will fuel concerns among Tory MPs that the PM failed to stick to the Covid rules he imposed on the rest from England.

When the gathering took place, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and non-essential shops were closed, while outdoor gatherings were limited to the rule of six. Schools also remained closed to most students.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts,” said a former minister. “For those who haven’t made up their minds yet, this is surely the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said Andrew Bridgen, one of seven Tory MPs to publicly demand that Johnson resign.

A senior Tory official said it was ‘inevitable’ that more MPs would demand a no-confidence vote against Johnson by submitting letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers. A member of the 1922 executive said the latest revelations were “deadly”.

The account of the latest event comes as senior civil servant Sue Gray finalizes her report into alleged parties in Downing Street during the Covid lockdowns.

Read more about Downing Street’s latest lockdown party allegation here

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