‘Confusion’ over Downing Street parties ’caused upset and anger’, says Welsh Tory MP
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
A Welsh Tory MP has suggested that “confusion” about reports of parties held in Downing Street during lockdown have “caused upset and anger”.
David Davies, a minister in the Wales Office and MP for Monmouth, was responding to Abergavenny councillor Martyn Groucutt, who called on him to back removing the Prime Minister Boris Johnson from office if he refuses to resign.
The Conservative politician said what happened was “clearly wrong” but added that it would also be incorrect to suggest MPs were aware of the events, which he said involved civil servants and officials.
An inquiry has been launched into alleged rule-breaking parties held at 10 Downing Street while Covid-19 restrictions were in place.
In an email to Mr Davies, Cllr Groucutt said those calling to wait for the outcome of the inquiry are “hiding from the obvious”.
“Enough party givers and party-goers have admitted to their actions for us to know that we have had been subject to one set of rules for the ruling elite and another for the rest of us,” the Labour councillor said.
In response to the email, Mr Davies said he understood why “the confusion over recent issues has caused upset and anger”, and that constituents have “every right to feel aggrieved” by the allegations.
Mr Davies said 10 Downing Street is “one of the most secure buildings in the world”, and has more than 100 rooms and offices inside.
“It seems that some of the people who work together in Number 10 decided to go into the garden, drink alcohol for a period of time and then go back to work again,” Mr Davies said.
“Apart from the Prime Minister, who has confirmed that he attended to thank staff, they were all civil servants or officials.
“There is absolutely no way that I, or any MP, would be aware of what civil servants in a secure building seven minutes walk from Parliament are doing at any time.
“MPs cannot walk freely into Downing Street or No 10 Downing Street unless they have a pre-arranged meeting.”
‘Not trying to make excuses’
Mr Davies added: “I’m not trying to make excuses, it was clearly wrong but it is incorrect for the media to suggest that MPs could have seen it, heard it, known about it, or been able to attend it.
“I don’t know anything about any Downing Street ‘parties’ and what has been reported and speculated on in the press.
“I don’t see any point in making a comment before the result of the independent investigation. Personally, I would prefer the facts to be established first, and that if it is found that rules were broken, then disciplinary action will follow for all those involved.”
Asked about Cllr Groucutt’s call to support removing the prime minister from office, Mr Davies said: “I would be interested to know if Martyn has written to Keir Starmer in the same terms, to ask why he was drinking beer with work colleagues in an office.”
The Labour leader has denied breaking Covid rules in the photo.
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