Labour is demanding a formal government investigation into possible breaches of Covid rules at parties held at 10 Downing Street last Christmas.
eputy leader Angela Rayner has written to cabinet secretary Simon Case to ask if he will make enquiries about events held at Downing Street and refer any violations found to the Metropolitan Police.
Boris Johnson reportedly gave a speech at a packed leaving do for a senior aide in November last year when the UK was in the midst of the second lockdown. Members of his No 10 team are said to have held their own party in the days before Christmas while under tight Tier 3 restrictions.
In her letter to the country’s top civil servant, Ms Rayner said it was “difficult to understand” how either event could have been within the rules and claimed the government was “undermining public health messaging”.
She also asked the cabinet secretary if he would refer any potential breach of the regulations by the prime minister or his staff to the police.
The Daily Mirror first printed that there were reportedly 40 or 50 people crammed “cheek by jowl” into a medium-sized room at the two events held when strict lockdown curbs were in place.
Multiple other parties were held in Downing Street over the festive period while indoor mixing was banned, according to the latest reports.
Leading barrister Adam Wagner, an expert on Covid restrictions, has said rules were “probably broken” at the December 18 gathering.
Tier 3 restrictions in place in London meant people were not allowed to mix indoors with people outside their household, while guidance for the Christmas period said “you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party”.
Business minister George Freeman claimed he could “absolutely assure you” Downing Street staff adhered to Covid rules last Christmas. However, he said he could not get “drawn into who was or wasn’t in the room” because he was not in government at the time.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson was “taking people for fools” after the prime minister claimed to have followed all Covid rules.
Yesterday, he tweeted: “Boris Johnson hosted multiple parties when the country was in lockdown over Christmas. Yesterday he claimed that was within the rules. He is taking people for fools.”
No 10 has not denied parties had taken place, but officials have continued to insist that the gatherings were Covid- compliant. (© Independent News Service)