In December 2021, a picture was widely circulated on social media that supposedly showed a plastic bag covering a CCTV camera as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a Christmas party:
The circled object in this picture is not a plastic bag covering a CCTV camera, though. It’s a window curtain.
The image, which was published by the British tabloid The Mirror on Dec. 11, supposedly revealed Johnson violated COVID-19 restrictions during a 2020 Christmas quiz party at 10 Downing Street. The Guardian reported:
Boris Johnson is facing further questions over whether he breached Covid laws after pictures emerged of him hosting a Christmas quiz in Downing Street while London was under tier 2 restrictions.
The prime minister was pictured on a screen reading out questions while staff sat behind computers and conferred on the answers, the Mirror reported.
London was then under restrictions banning any social mixing between households.
In response to the latest allegations, a No 10 spokesperson said: “This was a virtual quiz. Downing Street staff were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks.
“The prime minister briefly took part virtually in a quiz to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year.”
As this controversy unfolded on social media, some people attempted to add a new wrinkle by claiming that Johnson tried to hide the goings-on of this party by obscuring CCTV cameras with plastic bags. The image simply shows a window curtain.
This Christmas quiz party was hosted inside the Thatcher Room at 10 Downing Street where the windows are adorned with balloon valance curtains. These curtains can be clearly seen in a virtual tour of the government office via Google. Here’s a screenshot from this tour that clearly shows a window curtain:
Badshah, Nadeem. “Boris Johnson Pictured Hosting No 10 Christmas Quiz Last Year.” The Guardian, 11 Dec. 2021. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/dec/11/boris-johnson-pictured-hosting-no-10-christmas-quiz-last-year.
Crerar, Pippa. “Boris Johnson Pictured ‘hosting No10 Christmas Quiz’ While ‘Breaking Covid Laws.’” Daily Record, 11 Dec. 2021, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/boris-johnson-pictured-hosting-no10-25675863.
Mullock, Katie. “Google Opens the Doors of 10 Downing St.” Mirror, 16 Sept. 2016, http://www.mirror.co.uk/incoming/gallery/google-opens-doors-10-downing-8851206.
Study – Thatcher Room, London, United Kingdom — Google Arts & Culture. https://artsandculture.google.com/streetview/study-thatcher-room-10-downing-street/ygFd4ubDyYy5HQ. Accessed 13 Dec. 2021.