Biddulph: Local MPs mostly silent on Prime Minister's lockdown party apology

  Posted: 12.01.22 at 17:41 by Richard Price - Local Democracy Reporter

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Many local MPs have failed to comment after Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” party during the first coronavirus lockdown.

He told MPs the event in the Downing Street garden was “technically within the rules” but he should have realised how it would look to the public.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the PM must now quit over what he called his “ridiculous” lies and excuses.

Mr Johnson is also under pressure from his own MPs over the May 2020 party.

All three of Stoke-on-Trent’s MPs – along with the majority in Staffordshire MPs – refused to provide a comment when approached by the Local Democracy Reporting Service today.

The only two to issue a response were Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley and fellow Tory Kate Griffiths (Burton and Uttoxeter).

Representatives for Jo Gideon (Stoke-on-Trent Central) and Aaron Bell (Newcastle-Under-Lyme) said their respective MP was unavailable this afternoon.

In a statement, Ms Bradley said: “I have said previously that we need to know what happened with reference to alleged parties at Downing Street during the pandemic and we need reassurance that the rules which Moorlanders followed so assiduously were also followed by the people that made the rules.

“There is now an inquiry into this issue and I will wait to hear the outcome of that inquiry before passing judgement.”

Meanwhile, Ms 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.”

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant was among those who did not respond to our phone calls or messages.

However, he posted on Twitter this afternoon saying: “Covid rules are and were all about not spreading disease.

“The Downing Street garden is a secure area protected by armed police adjoining – 100 cramped offices.

“No mixing with non-Downing Street workers is possible. This will be one of the factors being considered in the inquiry.”

The remaining Staffordshire MPs contacted for comment were:

Jack Brereton (Stoke-on-Trent South)

Jonathan Gullis (Stoke-on-Trent North)

Bill Cash (Stone)

Theo Clarke (Stafford)

Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase)

Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)

Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire)

The LDRS said that so far none of these has been forthcoming with a statement or accepted an invite to answer their questions.

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