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by Andrew Learmonth
11 January 2022
Boris Johnson's secret lockdown party is 'indefensible', says Ruth Davidson

Boris Johnson's secret lockdown party is 'indefensible', says Ruth Davidson

Boris Johnson has been heavily criticised by Ruth Davidson over claims of a party in the Downing Street garden at the height of the first lockdown. 

Last night, ITN revealed that the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, invited around 100 people to "socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” in May 2020, when strict Covid restrictions were still in place. 

Staff were urged to “bring your own booze." Reports suggest Johnson and his wife Carrie attended the gathering.

After details of the story emerged, the former Scottish Conservative leader, tweeted: “What tf were any of these people thinking?”

Speaking to the BBC this morning, the Baroness said the lockdown party was “indefensible”.

Lady Davidson said: ”I cannot conceive of how this ever happened, how it seems to have happened multiple times, how anyone thought it was a good idea to plan it, to organise it to turn up to it.

“And nobody just said, 'well, hang on a minute, lads, we're telling everybody else that they're not allowed to meet a single person, we're telling them they can't go to relative’s funerals, we're telling them they can't visit elderly people in care homes, we're telling them they can't visit dying relatives in care homes.’

“How is this defensible? It's not about being a politician. It's about being a human being that lived in the United Kingdom during this time. 

“If Number 10 doesn't understand the anger that is out there, then they're gonna find out that anger pretty soon in the next couple of days because everybody has some form of sacrifice or somebody important in their life that gave a huge sacrifice that will never forgive whatever went on.”

Johnson has so far refused to comment on the row. On Tuesday night, when asked, he replied: "All that, as you know, is the subject of a proper investigation by Sue Gray."

Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, said Johnson could not “run and he cannot hide.”

He told the BBC: “He’s got to answer. If I went to a party, I know I went to the party. He’s got to explain - was he at the party? How can he possibly justify all of the things he said in the House of Commons – that no rules were broken, that he did nothing wrong? He is going to have to answer.”

The SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster, Kirsten Oswald called on Tory MPs to “finally do the right thing and remove Boris Johnson from office”. 

She added: “People are understandably furious that, yet again, it's one rule for the Tory elite and another for the rest of us. The Prime Minister is not fit for office. There is no question he should have done the honourable thing and resigned but, as he refuses, Tory MPs must take responsibility and show him the door - or the whole party will be tainted by the lies, arrogance and rule-breaking.”

Health minister Ed Argar told Sky News that he understood people would be “upset and angry”.

“Which is why it’s right that the Prime Minister asked for that independent investigation to be completed at pace, to get to the facts behind these allegations,” he added. 

“What actually happened or didn’t happen in Downing Street is a matter for Ms Gray.

“She will come up with her conclusions having interviewed the relevant people, having looked at the evidence and … she will then conclude a) what did or didn’t happen, and then b) whether anything that did happen was consistent with the rules.”

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Scotland's Covid recovery impossible without independence says SNP president

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