By Rachael Grealish
A Cumbrian MP has said he is ‘appalled and shocked’ as he condemned the alleged the Downing Street parties.
Several allegations have now been made of multiple parties being held in the grounds of 10 Downing Street in May 2020.
A picture was released, allegedly from May 15 2020, showing Boris Johnson and his wife sitting with No 10 staff including Martin Reynolds on the terrace with a bottle of wine and cheese.
Following this an email, shared exclusively with ITV News provides the first evidence of a party on May 20, 2020, asking attendees to ‘bring your own booze’.
It said: “After what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”
The Prime Minister has since said the picture showed a work meeting, but the email is much harder to explain.
Dr Neil Hudson, Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border, said he ‘completely shares’ the upset feelings of the country and his constituents following the reports of parties.
He said: “In light of recent reports about Downing Street gatherings in 2020, I would like to outline my position. I have to say that I am appalled and shocked at the reports of further gatherings in May last year that are now coming to light this week.
“It is completely right that the House of Commons Speaker granted an Urgent Question to the Opposition on this subject today to question the Government. This further underlines the seriousness of the allegations.
“It is vital, if we are to maintain public trust, that Government employees, politicians and officials follow the same rules as the rest of the country.
“This is now more important than ever as, understandably and necessarily, the public health guidelines have been strengthened in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
“People up and down the land have made incredible sacrifices, some of them personally heart breaking, to obey the public health rules and quite rightly they are indignant and upset about this. I completely share their feelings.”
Although Dr Hudson condemned the parties he said he is ‘pleased’ with the response of the PM.
“I am pleased that the Prime Minister did the right thing in apologising unreservedly in the Chamber of the House of Commons in December and I welcome that he started investigations at that point. Crucially,” he continued, “the investigation will now include the alleged gathering that took place on 20th May 2020.
“We need to see the result of that investigation and what the findings tell us. If rules have been broken then quite rightly there should be serious consequences.
“The investigation will be conducted by Sue Gray, Second Permanent Secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. She will ascertain and report the facts and I am confident she will carry out this task in the thorough and independent fashion it rightly deserves.”
The Penrith MP finished his statement saying any evidence of law-breaking must be investigated further by police.
He said: “In addition, because this also involves possible breaking of the law, it is very important that if any evidence is found as a result of that investigation, that it should be passed to the Metropolitan Police for further investigation.”
Other Cumbrian MPs have been contacted by The Herdwick News for their position on the alleged parties.