Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has urged prime minister Boris Johnson to resign after revelations his Principal Private Secretary invited 100 plus people to a “bring your own booze” event at Downing Street in May 2020.
An email sent by Martin Reynolds, the civil servant responsible for the Prime Minister’s private office was leaked to the media yesterday. The email invited staff to “make the most of the lovely weather” via a “socially distanced drinks” reception in Number 10’s garden during the national lockdown.
“I think he should go,” Ms Rayner explained this morning, going on: “I think there’s no excuses and it will come as no surprise that I don’t think he’s up to the job, but more importantly I think he’s lost the British public now with his lies, his deceit and the breaking of the rules.”
The Met has confirmed it has been “in touch with the Cabinet Office” over the event, provoking speculation that a formal investigation could be opened.
Health minister Edward Argar said he understood dissatisfaction at the revelations while in the broadcast round this morning.
“I can entirely understand the anger, the sadness and the upset that many will feel about these allegations,” he told BBC One’s Breakfast programme.
“We’ve sadly lost 150,230 of our fellow citizens during this pandemic to the disease and of course everyone endured some very tough restrictions impacting on family life and mental health so I can entirely understand the anger. That’s why I think it’s absolutely right that the Prime Minister moved swiftly to commission that independent inquiry by Sue Gray.”
He said he hoped Ms Gray would investigate the allegations “without fear or favour” and that her report’s conclusions will be published “swiftly”.
This follows weeks in which the Conservatives have dipped in the polls after a series of other lockdown-breaching allegations directed at No 10 and other government offices.