UK MPs Vent Angry At Boris Johnson Over Lockdown Parties

MPs in parliament on Tuesday blasted British Minister Boris Johnson for allegedly attending a “bring your own booze” party during the coronavirus lockdown of March 2020.

Adding fuel to an already blazing fire, Johnson refused to attend parliament to hear MPs’ questions for himself, instead sending government Minister Michael Ellis.

Johnson will attend Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament on Wednesday, however.

Today, Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said in parliament: “It is incredibly disappointing, but not unsurprising, that the prime minister of whom I asked this question is not here today despite not having any official engagements.

“I think his absence speaks volumes as does his smirks on the media, the public have already drawn their own conclusions. He can run but he can’t hide.”

Leaked invite

Late last night, ITV released a leaked email from Martin Reynolds, the prime minister’s principal private secretary, to 100 people inviting them to a party – while the rest of the country was locked down.

The mail read: “Hi all, After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

Johnson has refused to say whether he attended or not, but local media have widely reported intense speculation that both he and his wife did in fact attend alongside around 40 others.

At the time, lockdown rules imposed by Johnson’s government on the public allowed people to socialize with just one other person outdoors.

This has led to fury within his party, inside parliament, and among the public – to the extent that his position as prime minister is now being called into question.

‘Surely he knew’

Rayner continued: “If the prime minister was there, surely he knew? The invitation was sent to 100 staff, many of them his own most personal senior appointees.

“This was organized in advance, so did the prime minister know about the event beforehand and did he give his permission for it to go ahead?

“And if so, did he believe this event was (in) keeping with the restrictions at the time and the guidelines, and was the chief medical officer consulted before it went ahead?”

Ellis repeatedly said MPs should not preempt the outcome of the investigation Johnson ordered into the No. 10 Downing Street lockdown parties – as there have been more than one reported.

Moral authority ‘lost’

Former Labour Minister Angela Eagle said perhaps it would be faster “to investigate the days there weren’t parties.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “The harsh reality is that people round these islands watched loved ones dying, and missing funerals, and the PM and his staff partied behind the walls of his private garden.”

He added: “This is a prime minister that has lost his moral authority. He doesn’t deserve the respect and the trust of the people of these islands.

“If he won’t do the decent thing and recognize that he ought to resign, I say to the minister and I say to the Conservative backbenchers that they are going to have to do what the prime minister has failed to do and force him from office, and do it now.”

Few MPs from the ruling Conservative party came to parliament to defend the prime minister, although some did make the effort to express “confidence” in the prime minister.

Responding to Rayner, Ellis said: “She asks if I have confidence in the prime minister’s integrity and honor, and I do.”

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