Top 10 significant events in the Downing Street garden

Top 10 significant events in the Downing Street garden
A patch of grass and some rose bushes that have served as the backdrop to history

In a change to the advertised programme, Damian McBride suggested this topical list. In chronological order…

1. David Lloyd George housed the secretariat to his war cabinet in temporary huts in the garden (the “garden suburb”), 1916. Nominated by Blair McDougall and James Heale.

2. John Major’s “put up or shut up” statement, 22 Junie 1995, which prompted John Redwood’s leadership challenge.

3. Tony Blair presented his government’s first “annual report”, 30 Julie 1998. Thanks to Will Cooling.

4. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness went missing in No 10 and were found skateboarding with Tony Blair’s children, Mei 1999. Nominated by John Fuchs and Gerry Braiden.

5. Freddie Flintoff toegelaat he was in a “fairly dishevelled state”, 13 September 2005, at a party to celebrate the England cricket team’s Ashes victory.

6. David Cameron and Nick Clegg announced the coalition agreement, 12 Mei 2010.

7. Pele had a kick-about with young people from a football charity, 3 Augustus 2011, and had his photo taken with star-struck political journalists.

8. Series of work meetings with wine and cheese, as photographed from Rishi Sunak’s office, 15 Mei 2020.

9. “Bring your own booze” “work event”, 20 Mei 2020, which now threatens to sink Boris Johnson, who attended for 25 minute.

10. Dominic Cummings’s “eye-test” news conference, 25 Mei 2020.

As Alastair Meeks suggested, if I wait for Sue Gray’s report, I might have a Top 10 Downing Street garden parties during lockdown alone.

An honourable mention for Harry Johnston and GGMZ, who reminded us that the “Edstone” – Ed Miliband’s promises carved on a slab – was destined for the Downing Street garden if he had become prime minister.

Next week: Political meals, after Boris Johnson flew back from the Cop26 climate summit for dinner at the Garrick private members’ club with Charles Moore, who persuaded him that Owen Paterson must be saved.

Coming soon: Soundbites that sound good on first hearing but when thought about are revealed to be nonsense, soos: “No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to

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