'Appropriate disciplinary action' should be taken if lockdown breaching drinks party happened at Downing Street, says Minister

“Appropriate disciplinary action” should be taken if lockdown rules were broken by a drinks party in Downing Street in May 2020, a Minister has said.

Police are in touch with the Cabinet Office over claims the Prime Minister’s top aide invited more than 100 people to a “bring your own booze” gathering in the Number 10 back garden.

Multiple sources claim that Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie attended.

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According to an email leaked to ITV News, Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, told staff they should “make the most of the lovely weather”, despite England being under tough coronavirus restrictions banning groups from meeting socially outdoors.

File photo dated 19/07/16 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds (left), who sent an email to more than 100 Downing Street employees asking them to "bring your own booze" for an evening gathering, ITV reported (PA)

Health Minister Edward Argar was asked about the revelations by broadcasters this morning, but said he wanted to wait for the official report into multiple alleged breaches of lockdown rules in Downing Street to be published.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I can entirely understand why people who’ve lost loved ones, or people who’ve just had their lives hugely disrupted by these restrictions, are angry and upset by these allegations.

“That’s why it’s right that [Sue Gray] is looking into the facts and will report, and she can go with this investigation where she needs to, without fear or favour.

“I hope that she will report swiftly, and depending on what she finds in that investigation – if people are found to have broken the rules in that context, it’s right that appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Asked if the Prime Minister should go if he is found to have been at the alleged event, Mr Argar said: “I think it’s important we wait and see what [Ms Gray] says about the facts.”

The gathering has been condemned by senior Conservative Ruth Davidson, who has described the public as “rightly furious”.

The former Scottish Conservative leader wrote on Twitter: “I can entirely understand why people who’ve lost loved ones, or people who’ve just had their lives hugely disrupted by these restrictions, are angry and upset by these allegations.”

She added: “This line won’t survive 48 hrs. Nobody needs an official to tell them if they were at a boozy shindig in their own garden. People are (rightly) furious. They sacrificed so much – visiting sick or grieving relatives, funerals.”

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Labour meanwhile, have called on the Prime Minister to personally explain whether or not he was at the apparent gathering.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Shadow Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said that “the Prime Minister cannot run and he cannot hide. He’s got to answer.”

He went on: “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.”

He added: “It speaks to a rotten culture at the heart of this Government and the rotten culture begins with the person in charge.”