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World Voter anger mounts over Downing Street parties

09:38  15 january  2022
09:38  15 january  2022 Source:   bbc.com

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Hundreds of angry constituents have been contacting Tory MPs about reports of parties being held in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place.

Some MPs say their inboxes have filled up after No 10 apologised to the Queen for two staff parties the night before the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

One former minister told the BBC Boris Johnson was "toast", and another said the situation now feels "terminal."

The government has urged people to reserve judgement for an inquiry.

Boris Johnson was not at either party last April before Prince Philip's funeral - but he faces questions over alleged Covid rule-breaking at No 10.

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One senior backbench Conservative MP told the BBC they received more than 200 angry emails about the parties, with only five messages in support of the prime minister.

"Many colleagues now believe Boris won't be leader at next general election... for many of us this feels terminal," the MP said.

A Midlands Tory MP, who won his seat in a former Labour constituency in the 2019 election, said: "The inbox is bad, really bad."

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The gatherings which Downing Street has apologised to Buckingham Palace for took place on 16 April 2021.

The two parties last April involved around 30 people in total, and are reported to have converged at some point in the Downing Street garden, where they continued past midnight.

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Staff were reportedly sent to a nearby shop with a suitcase, which was brought back "filled with bottles of wine".


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At the time, England was under "step two" restrictions that stipulated people could not socialise indoors, except with those from their household or support bubble. People could socialise outdoors in groups of up to six people or two households.

The behaviour of No 10 staff has been contrasted with pictures of the Queen sitting alone at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral, due to Covid restrictions.

Boris Johnson's spokesman said it was "deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning".

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is carrying out an investigation into alleged Covid rule breaking in Downing Street and government departments.

The day after the parties took place, the Queen was pictured sitting alone at Prince Philip's funeral due to Covid restrictions © PA Media The day after the parties took place, the Queen was pictured sitting alone at Prince Philip's funeral due to Covid restrictions

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP are all calling for Mr Johnson to resign after he admitted attending a drinks party in the Downing Street garden during lockdown on 20 May 2020. The prime minister said he "believed implicitly that this was a work event".

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But Mr Johnson is also facing a backlash from within his own Tory ranks.

Andrew Bridgen has became the fifth Conservative MP to publicly declare they have written to the chairman of the 1922 Committee - which organises Tory leadership contests - to say they have no confidence in the prime minister. Fifty-four Conservative MPs have to write a letter to trigger a vote.

Meanwhile, a former minister told the BBC: "Johnson is toast... if you were the chief whip looking at him you'd say he's not fit to do any other jobs in government, you wouldn't make him a junior minister, he doesn't work hard enough."

And a senior Tory MP said "there is a lot of scepticism around that there is anyone ready to take the reins. That buys Boris time. But he shouldn't confuse that with another chance".

Speaking to BBC's Politics North, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said Mr Johnson's behaviour had been "unacceptable".

The Conservative MP said he felt particularly emotional about the party held in the Downing Street garden on 20 May because around that time Covid restrictions had prevented him from being with his wife and twins when they were ill in hospital. The two boys subsequently died shortly after birth.

"PartyGate" affair: Boris Johnson argues lies to Lockdown celebration from

 The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected allegations, he lied in the "PartyGate" affair. Him have made "categorically nobody" that an event could infringe in May 2020 in the garden of his official residence against the occurring corona editions, Johnson assumed on Tuesday in an interview of the sender Sky News. © AFP The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected allegations. He stressed again, he was assumed by a working meeting.

Mr Opperman said the prime minister should continue in post while the investigation into government gatherings is completed. But he said Mr Johnson needed to "change his ways" and run Downing Street "in a very, very different way".

It comes as the former head of the government's Covid taskforce has apologised for having leaving drinks in the Cabinet Office when she left the civil service on 17 December 2020. Kate Josephs, who is now the chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said she was "truly sorry" for "the anger that people will feel".

BBC Newsnight has learned that senior Downing Street staff as well as civil servants were invited by email to Ms Josephs' leaving drinks. No 10 was approached for comment to confirm or deny their attendance at the event but did not respond.

Click here to see the BBC interactive

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Joe Biden was famous for delivering eulogies long before he was elected president, so it should not come as a surprise that in his remarks to the nation to memorialize the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and our system of elections, he spoke more about the past tense—of a “former president” and a “failed” attempt to overthrow democracy—than about the very real, very urgent threats facing the nation today. It’s easy and convenient to isolate the images, violence and memories of Jan. 6, to remove them from their ongoing context and package them into produced speeches or television segments that look back.

usr: 0
This is interesting!