Downing Street drinks party: the sacrifices Sheffield made while PM allegedly broke lockdown rules

People in Sheffield have described the sacrifices they were making on the day Boris Johnson allegedly broke lockdown rules at a Downing Street drinks party.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:55 pm

They have shared their in some cases heartbreaking stories as anger grows over reports 100 people were invited to a ‘bring your own booze’ party which took place on May 20, 2020, and the Prime Minister was among around 30 people to attend.

While some people recalled the boredom of staying at home and, for the lucky ones, seeing the same old faces, other described how they were forced to forgo celebrating major milestones or had missed out on precious last moments with loved ones – because they were sticking to the lockdown rules in place across England at the time to prevent the spread of Covid.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson allegedly attended a Downing Street garden drinks party while the nation was in lockdown on May 20, 2020. Picture Jeff Gilbert - Pool/Getty Images

Joanna Dobson wrote: “I was tearing my hair out over my mother’s worsening mental health. She’d not been allowed a single visitor in her care home for about 10 weeks. I didn’t know then that the next time I could be with her (in July) would be when she was at point of death.”

Ms Dobson told how she had arranged to see her mother, Jane, that August, when she was told they could meet for 15 minutes, socially distanced, in the care home car park.

But that never happened because staff at the home called in July to say her mother was seriously ill and, although she was able to be with her for the last few hours of her life, the last time she saw her conscious was in February that year.

Asked what she thought of the reports of Downing Street parties taking place at the time, she said: “I think I’ve gone beyond anger. I’ve gone into a sort of grief that this country should be ‘led’ bu somebody who’s so untrustworthy and appears to lack any kind of empathy. I can’t even find the energy to be angry. I just think it’s a tragedy.”

Rebecca Hammond said: “It was my Dad's 65th birthday, but I couldn't visit him to celebrate because I was following the rules. Instead I went to work (healthcare), and then went to donate blood (where I wore a mask and was carefully distanced from other donors).”

Details of the alleged party on May 20 are the latest to emerge of reported lockdown rule-breaking at Downing Street.

Mr Johnson has previously been forced to explain a photo showing him and staff with wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020, claiming those present were ‘talking about work’, and he has also faced claims that rules were flouted at several Downing Street gatherings in November and December that year.

The resentment is clear in messages from the vast majority of people in Sheffield and across the country who observed those rules for their own safety and that of others.

Ian Martindale described how he had been forced to celebrate his 60th birthday in muted style with just him and his partner in his garden in May 2020.

And Jon Keighren wrote: “Just looked back at my photos from that date - I didn’t take any from May 11-24. I wonder why?! Oh yeah, we were in lockdown!”