MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, Kate Griffiths, has raised concerns with the Conservative Party over the allegations surrounding lockdown parties at No 10 Downing Street
Kate shared her thoughts with the Echo after news reports that parties had taken place at No 10 while strict Covid measures were in place.
The revelations sparked a huge public outcry, with members of the public, opposition MPs and a handful of Conservative MPs calling for the resignation of PM, Boris Johnson.
No 10 issued an apology to The Queen last week after it emerged two parties had taken place on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2020.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating a number of events at No 10, some of which were described as ‘work events’ and her findings are expected to be made public over the next week.
Uttoxeter’ MP, Kate Griffiths said: “I know constituents are feeling very let down and angry at the latest allegations, and I feel the same.
“If those found to have been writing the rules were also breaking them, then further action will need to be taken.
“I await the outcome of the inquiry, and in the meantime have made my concerns very clear to my Party.”
Since March 2020, the UK has been through three national lockdowns and a range of restrictions, from social distancing and the use of face masks through to stricter ‘tiers’ of regulation in a bid to combat Covid-19.
According to reports in the national press, events involving alcohol and possible socialising were taking place at No 10 Downing Street while different restrictions were in place at different points in the pandemic.
May 15, 2020 – a photo showed the PM with staff in the Downing Street garden, with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard. Boris Johnson said: ‘those people were at work, talking about work.’ (Initial lockdown eased, able to meet one person outdoors while exercising)
In Uttoxeter – the first ‘virtual’ meeting of Uttoxeter Town Council was held via video conferencing software, as public meetings could not be held in person.
May 20, 2020 – email invites to a ‘socially distanced’ party were sent to 100 people by the PM’s private secretary. The PM and his wife were among 30 people to attend. The PM said he ‘believed implicitly that this was a work event.’
In Uttoxeter – Jayne Talbot and the small team at Old Saddler’s Yard Café were praised for supporting elderly and vulnerable people in the town by ensuring they had hot meals delivered along with a jigsaw and puzzle library. The café covered delivery costs as well as funding their own PPE to ensure safe delivery to those most in need.
November 27, 2020 – A leaving event was held at No 10. Sources claim people were drinking and the PM made a speech. (Second national lockdown in place from November 5 to December 2).
In Uttoxeter – Two Uttoxeter women brought the community together through their ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ Facebook group, launching an online appeal for toys and gifts to help vulnerable families at Christmas.
December 10, 2020 – The Department for Education has confirmed an office gathering was held to thank staff for their work during the pandemic with drinks and snacks, but no outside guests or support staff in attendance. (London in ‘Tier 2’ restrictions, two or more people banned from meeting indoors unless ‘reasonably necessary for work purposes’).
December 14, 2020 – The Conservative Party has admitted that an ‘unauthorised gathering’ took place at its HQ in Westminster.
December 15, 2020 – A Christmas quiz for No 10 staff featured an appearance by the PM via video call.
In Uttoxeter – East Staffordshire was one of 67 councils to be in the first wave of mass testing in the fight against Covid-19.
December 16, 2020 – The Department for Transport has apologised after confirming reports of a party in its offices, calling it ‘inappropriate’ and an ‘error of judgement’ by staff. (London in Tier 3, no mixing indoors, in private gardens except with household or bubble. Rule of six to meet in outdoor spaces such as parks).
December 17, 2020 – A leaving party was held at the Cabinet Office.
December 18, 2020 – A party is believed to have taken place at No 10 after video obtained by ITV News showed the PM’s then-press secretary Allegra Stratton joking about the ‘fictional party’.
In Uttoxeter – Staff and students at Thomas Alleyne’s High School revealed £30,000 had been raised to support pupils, their families and the wider community during the crisis.
As well as a fund-raising drive, the school provided laptops for children, invested in mental health support and provided NHS and care home staff with PPE that was designed and produced by the school’s Design and Technology department.
April 16, 2021 – Four days after some lockdown restrictions were eased, but the ‘rule of six’ was still in place – and during a time of national mourning – two parties were held at Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. Boris Johnson was at Chequers at the time. (The third national lockdown ended on April 12, but indoor socialising with people from other households was not allowed and the rule of six applied to meeting outdoors).
In Uttoxeter – Tributes to HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of HM Queen Elizabeth II included flags flown at half-mast and a minute of silence at 3pm on Saturday, April 17.
St Mary the Virgin bell ringers half-muffled one of the bells, which they tolled 99 times in memory of Prince Philip.
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