Downing Street lockdown party: Sheffield Tory MP Miriam Cates 'angry' after Boris Johnson admits attending garden party

A Sheffield Conservative MP says she was 'angry and upset' after Boris Johnson admitted attending a garden party during the first national lockdown.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:23 pm

Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said it was 'naturally distressing' for people to learn the Prime Minister attended the social event whilst the rest of the country was making huge sacrifices.

At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson confessed he went into the Number 10 garden 'just after 6pm on 20 May 2020 to thank groups of staff' before returning to his office '25 minutes later'.

He claimed to have believed the gathering was a 'work event', but admitted he should have found some other way to thank them.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Prime Minister apologised for attending a 'bring your own booze' party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, during the first coronavirus lockdown, but insisted he believed it was a work event and could 'technically' have been within the rules.

He then offered his 'heartfelt apologies', but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other MPs, including some on the Conservative benches, called on him to resign.

Read More

Read More
"Get real Mr Johnson, and lead by example" - Readers' give their thoughts on Bor...

Mrs Cates said: "Over the past months I have heard many harrowing tales from constituents who couldn’t spend time with their families, who were unable to attend funerals, and whose children were denied education.

"I am angry and upset that whilst so many of us were making huge sacrifices, the Prime Minister and his staff attended a social event.

"Most of us believed we were making these huge sacrifices for the common good and to see those who made the rules were not abiding by them is naturally distressing."

She said while Mr Boris' apology was welcome, it was still important to 'know all the facts' surrounding the scandal.

She added: "I understand that the independent inquiry into the details of what took place will conclude shortly, and whoever is found to have broken the rules must face consequences – according to the law – without fear or favour."

Although Mrs Cates did not state whether Mr Johnson should vacate the office when asked, there have been calls for him to resign from within his own party.

Those calling for him to go include the Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, with other Scottish Tories at Holyrood, as well as his predecessor Baroness Davidson, agreeing his time is up.

Conservative MP William Wragg, who chairs the Commons' Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, also described Mr Johnson’s position as ‘untenable’.

Rother Valley MP Alexander Strafford refused to comment when contacted.