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'BYOB' official at heart of partygate row likely to become ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sky News understands


The official at the heart of the partygate scandal is being lined up as a candidate to become ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sky News understands.

Martin Reynolds is increasingly likely to take up the Riyadh position after leaving his role as one of Number 10’s most senior officials in February.

The Foreign Office recruitment process is underway, no formal appointment has been made and nothing has yet passed the prime minister’s desk.

However two sources told Sky News that he was ultimately expected to end up in the role.

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At the height of the first lockdown on 20 May 2020, Mr Reynolds sent an email inviting those at 10 Downing Street to “make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks” in the garden.

Invitees were asked to “bring your own booze”.

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This earned him the nickname “Party Marty”, an epithet which allies of Mr Reynolds say “could not be further from the truth” in light of his character.

Over 100 people were invited to this gathering, and between thirty and forty people attended.

A number of people have since been fined by police for attending the gathering.

Campaigners on behalf of COVID bereaved families had called for Mr Reynolds to be sacked.

The appointment would cause dismay in parts of the civil service, with one source saying the proposition was “depressing”.

Mr Reynolds sent the email as principal private secretary to the prime minister, a role he took up in October 2019.

Prior to this he was Ambassador to Libya.

Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, although embassy compounds have been able to secure alcohol using diplomatic bags.

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September 2023

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