South Shields and Jarrow MPs brand Boris Johnson ‘pathetic’ following apology for Downing Street Covid lockdown party
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Anger has been steadily building following a slew of revelations about events allegedly held in Downing Street while the rest of the country was living under coronavirus restrictions.
The latest claims, that Boris Johnson briefly attended a “bring your own booze” bash in the garden of Number 10, even prompted an apology in the House of Commons at the latest edition on Prime Minister’s Questions.
But opposition chiefs are pushing for the Tory leader to step down, claiming his action have left families who lost loved ones during the pandemic feeling “disgusted”.
“It was pathetic and just shows the contempt he has for all of us,” said South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
“He is not even fit to be an MP, let alone Prime Minister, and the only people who can get rid of him are his own MPs and they need to get shot of him.
“I’ve had a lot of emails from people who were key workers saying they feel disgusted, from people who couldn’t say goodbye to the people they love.
“I think the Prime Minister gets the magnitude of what’s happened - he just doesn’t care and that’s the worst thing about it.
Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s principal private secretary, invited colleagues to “socially distanced drinks” on May 20, 2020, with an offer to “make the most of the lovely weather” and instructions to “bring your own booze”.
The Prime Minister told MPs he had attended the gathering for about 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff” for their work during the pandemic and insisted he had thought it complied with the rules in place at the time.
He conceded he should have instead ordered the party be shut down and offered his “heartfelt apologies” to the public over the row.
An investigation into allegations of parties held at the heart of government during lockdowns, including a ‘cheese and wine garden party’ and Christmas quiz, is being carried out by top civil servant Sue Gray.
Labour leader Keir Starmer branded Johnson a “pathetic spectacle of a man”, calling his excuses “ridiculous”.
Speaking in Parliament, he said: “After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road.
“His defence … that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.”
Even Conservative bosses in the North East have turned on him, with Sunderland Tory chief Antony Mullen among his critics, although Gazette readers have questioned if Johnson did leave Downing Street, who would replace him in the hot seat.
Labour’s Jarrow MP Kate Osborne was also scathing, adding: “Boris Johnson has broken rules which he set and has been caught out.
“In May 2020, Jarrow constituents sacrificed so much to keep their family and friends safe, all at a time when Boris Johnson was at a “Bring Your Own Booze” party in his back garden with dozens of others.
“The Prime Minister must take full responsibility, apologise to grieving families and resign.”