GRIEVING MPs broke down in tears today as they let rip at fresh claims Boris Johnson attended a lockdown-busting booze bash at No10.
The PM dodged a fiery Commons grilling this afternoon where angry MPs demanded he resign over the latest allegations of rule-breaking.
Boris Johnson last answered questions yesterday on a visit to a vaccination centre[/caption]
Minister Michael Ellis, who was sent in his place, insisted the PM was “going nowhere” and said critics should wait and see the findings of a probe.
The PM and Carrie reportedly attended the “bring you own booze” gathering organised by top No10 official Martin Reynolds on May 20, 2020.
Just minutes before the 6pm “socially distanced drinks” Brits had been told at a press conference to follow the rules by limiting outdoor gatherings to two people.
In a highly-charged Commons debate MPs scolded Mr Johnson for refusing to answer questions himself – and slammed him in his absence.
DUP MP Jim Shannon wept as he spoke of his late mother-in-law who “died alone” from Covid.
Labour MP Afzal Khan spoke of marking a “solemn Eid” at the time as his “lovely mum” died of Covid in March 2020.
He said: “She died alone in hospital while I sat in the car outside, trying to be as close to her as I could.”
In key developments:
- Downing St said the PM had “full confidence” in Mr Reynolds
- Mr Johnson refused to comment further on the No10 drinks
- Senior Tories lined up to blast the PM for his wall of silence
- But others hit out at Labour for wasting time in the pandemic
Downing St was today in crisis after a bombshell email emerged of Mr Reynolds inviting more than 100 No10 staff to after-work drinks.
The PM’s spokesman this morning refused to say whether Mr Johnson had broken the law, but pointed to previous remarks claiming his innocence.
Yesterday Mr Johnson declined to comment whether he had attended the May 20 drinks and ducked answering more questions today.
Mr Ellis, the Paymaster General, was jeered as he was wheeled out on his behalf – with shouts of “where’s the prime minister” from opposition MPs.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson’s no-show “speaks volumes” and branded it “incredibly disappointing”.
Mr Ellis refused to get into the details of the party and claimed he did not want to prejudge a probe by senior civil servant Sue Gray
He said: “It will establish the facts and if wrongdoing is established there will be requisite disciplinary action taken.
“As with all internal investigations, if evidence emerges of what was potentially a criminal offence, the matter would be referred to the Metropolitan Police and the Cabinet Office investigation would be paused.”
Scotland Yard have also made contact with the Cabinet Office opening the possibility of a police investigation.
But in a full-throated defence of his boss Boris, Mr Ellis said: “The Prime Minister is going nowhere.
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“The Prime Minister retains the confidence of the people of this country and he did so two years ago with the biggest majority in decades.”
But many Tories on his own side lined up to slam the PM for the relentless stream of claims that’s dogged No10 since late last year.
Frustrated Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope fumed: “Why can’t all the dirty linen be washed at once? Why are we getting this drip, drip feed of parties?
“Surely the Civil Service must have known that there was a party on May 20 and they should have referred it already to the inquiry?”
Tory peer Baroness Davidson said: “If No10 doesn’t understand the anger that is out there, then they’re going to find out that anger pretty soon in the next couple of days.”
She told BBC News: “Given everything that we know – there were people that I know that were, you know, unable to hug their mum at their father’s funeral and support her. People are furious about this, what they gave up, how difficult it was, what happened to their own lives.
“And to think that this was going on, it’s just … it is indefensible. It cannot be defended.”
Tory MP Robbie Moore said: “The whole country has sacrificed so much during the pandemic and many are quite rightly furious.”
Former Labour Minister Dame Angela Eagle said: “The Prime Minister should come here now, fess up and tell us what happened.”
Michael Ellis was sent out to defend the PM[/caption]