‘He must resign’ - Birmingham MPs react to No 10 parties

Boris Johnson has been facing calls to resign over the last few days after more details emerged about Downing Street parties in lockdown
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Birmingham MPs have given their thoughts on the Prime Minister’s Downing Street future for his handling of No 10 parties.

Civil servant Sue Gray will lead an investigation into a number of alleged breaches of lockdown rules within the government during Covid lockdowns.

Ms Gray is understood to have interviewed Prime Minister Boris Johnson about what he knows regarding a string of party claims at No.10 Downing Street.

Ministers have been accused of breaking the Covid restrictions on multiple occasions, including the ‘Bring Your Own Booze Party’ garden party at 10 Downing Street.

Boris Johnson admitted to the House of Commons that he attended the gathering in May 2020, which 100 people were invited to and roughly 30 attended.

Speaking at PMQs on Wednesday (12 January), he offered a “heartfelt apology”, but said he had believed it to be a work event.

Boris Johnson is still facing calls to resign over Downing Street parties in lockdown.Boris Johnson is still facing calls to resign over Downing Street parties in lockdown.
Boris Johnson is still facing calls to resign over Downing Street parties in lockdown.

What have Birmingham MPs said about the PM’s admission?

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has said Mr Johnson must “do the decent thing and resign.”

She said: “The Prime Minister has finally been forced to admit what everyone knew—that when the whole country was locked down, he was hosting parties in Downing Street.

“Whilst the people of Birmingham suffered unimaginable loneliness, hurt and grief during the pandemic, the Prime Minister partied. It is insulting and offensive.

“It is utterly ridiculous that the Prime Minister seems to suggest he had no idea he was at a party. He has had ample opportunity to be straight with the British public. He is now taking us all for fools.

“It is shameful to hide behind an internal probe, spokespeople or civil servants. It is time for him to really take responsibility.

“He must do the decent thing and resign.”

Liam Byrne, Labour MP (Hodge Hill), said that “thousands will never forgive” the Prime Minister.

He said: “The stories I heard of love and loss during Covid will stay with me forever. Families who said goodbye to loved ones at the hospital door. Others who had to leave food for parents on their doorsteps.

“Children who said final goodbyes to dying parents on Facetime. All because they were obeying the rules while the Prime minister was partying like there was no tomorrow.

“Thousands will never forgive him. And millions want him to do the decent thing and resign today.”

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham LadywoodShabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood
Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood

What is the No 10 inquiry?

Downing Street staff are also said to have held two parties the night before Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021 - at a time when Covid restrictions banned indoor mixing.

The events took place on 16 April and went on until the early hours.

The Prime Minister was not at either of those parties, but it raises further questions about a culture of rule-breaking at Downing Street.

Mr Johnson has refused to be drawn on the details of his involvement in parties at No 10 and has asked people to wait until the findings of the investigation.

Ms Gray is thought to be examining emails, calendar invites, phone messages and eyewitness accounts.

However, some reports have suggested she may also have access to CCTV and police reports.

No timeline has been released for the inquiry as of yet. Some reports have suggested Ms Gray could present the results as early as next week, but in the past it has taken months for findings of similar investigations to be reported.

Experts have also warned that it could be delayed if the police launch an investigation.

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