WORKING in Downing Street will not be a defence if Covid rules were broken.
That was the clear message from Kenilworth and Southam Conservative MP Jeremy Wright in response to the e-mail that allegedly showed more than 100 Downing Street employees were invited to a ‘bring your own booze’ drinks party during the first lockdown.
Mr Wright, a former barrister, told The Observer: “A number of events are now being investigated.
“Those who work in Downing Street should act in accordance with the prevailing rules, just as the rest of us have to.
“Given the sacrifices many families have made over this period, anything else would be wholly unacceptable. I was critical of the actions of Dominic Cummings which in my view imperilled public consent for necessary health measures. If rules have been broken here, working in Downing Street will not be a defence.”
In the e-mail obtained by ITV News, Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds called on staff to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’ while the rest of the country were banned from meeting more than one person outside.
That was despite then Culture Secretary and now Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden appearing on TV just 55 minutes before to reiterate the rules at the time of meeting just one person from a different household outdoors.
Scotland Yard has confirmed that the police are in touch with the Cabinet Office regarding the matter.
A spokesperson said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on May 20 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office.”
Number 10 said it would not be commenting on the allegations while Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, carries out her inquiry into numerous allegations of rule-breaking events being held in Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Observer has also contacted Stratford MP and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi for comment.