Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing questions over his leadership after this week admitting he attending a party at Downing Street in May 2020.
At PMQs on Wednesday, the PM told the House of Commons how he believed “implicitly” that the gathering was a work event, and apologised to the millions of people who have made sacrifices over the pandemic.
He said: “I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.
“When I went into that garden just after six on May 20, 2020, to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event.”
An email from Boris Johnson’s Principle Private Secretary inviting around 100 people to a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of the Prime Minister’s residence was also leaked earlier this week.
At the time, coronavirus restrictions stated that you could only meet one other person from outside your own household outdoors.
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross said on Thursday that Johnson’s position was “untenable”.
The Leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has also called for the PM to go, saying on Wednesday: “the public think he’s lying through his teeth.”
Accusations of another party were revealed on Thursday by the Daily Telegraph, during which Downing Street staff are said to have drank alcohol into the early hours at two events in April 2021, the night before Prince Philip’s socially-distanced funeral.
In Gedling borough, many think he should resign – or even be sacked.
A woman from Gedling, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “In early April 2020, my Grandma died alone in a nursing home aged 96 with no family ‘allowed’ to visit her for 2 weeks before she passed away.
“We found out after she died that she had Covid.
“As you can imagine this was devastating for my family, especially my Mum.
“However we were led to believe, and took comfort from the fact, that this was for the greater good, to protect the NHS and save lives.
“We had sacrificed our final goodbyes to stop the spread and protect our elderly.
“We managed to arrange a very small funeral for the end of April with only 10 guests.
“I sat away from my parents and other family, on my own, as we didn’t have space to invite my husband.
“There was no hugging, no wake, no celebration of her amazing life.
“To know that shortly after this there was this ‘work do’, with 100 people invited, for drinks in the garden, when we weren’t allowed to say goodbye to my Grandma or give her a proper funeral, is one of the most upsetting and disgusting things I’ve ever heard.
“That the Prime Minster sanctioned this disregard by attending shows poor judgement and even poorer leadership.
“Everyone who attended clearly had no idea what the normal people were going through and the sacrifices they had made for the greater good.
“Imagine if a public sector workplace such as the NHS, the police or a school had held a ‘work event’ such as those held in May, even if they were to say ‘Thank you’ to the amazing public sector key workers.
“The condemnation from the Government would have been widespread and well deserved. Why are they different?
“Boris Johnson’s apology was that he was sorry we were upset by it, sorry he got caught.
“Explains why he didn’t sanction Dominic Cummings at the time.”
Dee Evans, 41, from Gedling, said: “Everyone can relate to this.
“Anyone who stayed home and followed the rules, anyone who went to work unsure if they were safe because we didn’t know anything about the virus then.
“Anyone who worked in the hospitals or care who are currently on their knees as a consequence of Covid and backlogs.
“Anyone who suffered Covid or is suffering long covid and anyone who lost someone and was denied the right to a gathering of more than 5 at the funeral.
“Boris Johnson should be sacked.
“Let’s not forget he’s not the first. Dominic Cummings’s eyesight and Matt Hancock’s affair spring to mind.
“Sadly I’m not sure this will be the last we hear of these situations from the people who were handing out the rules.”
Casey Hughes Smith, from Gedling, however urged people to look to the future.
She said: “Let’s move on the best we can. Look forward not backwards.”
The Gedling Conservatives issued a statement after being contacted by Gedling Eye.
They said: “All at Gedling Conservatives share the anger that many feel after hearing of parties at No10, while we and Gedling residents were in lockdown, abiding by the Government’s restrictions and missing events with our family and friends to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and save lives.
“We welcome the apology issued by the Prime Minister and the investigation into these allegations, which is being led independently by senior civil servant Sue Gray.”
Gedling MP Tom Randall said he wouldn’t be commenting further until the independent investigation had been completed.
Gedling Borough Council deputy leader and Labour councillor Michael Payne called for Johnson to resign.
He tweeted: “Conservatives in Downing Street partied away while people in Gedling suffered. They’ve been caught red-handed yet they lack the decency to be honest about it. The rest of us followed the rules.
“They are taking us for fools.”
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