Leigh's Tory MP says PM Johnson was "wrong" over No 10 party - but also criticises Labour leader for his own drinks gathering

A Wigan borough Conservative MP has said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “wrong” to attend a “bring your own booze” drinks party at Downing Street during the first lockdown.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:41 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:44 pm

But while expressing his disappointment at his boss’s behaviour, Leigh’s James Grundy said he hoped Labour leader Keir Starmer would issue an apology like the PM had after a picture emerged of him drinking with party staff at an event last May.

Mr Grundy released a statement after receiving a letter from Leigh, Makerfield and Wigan Labour councillors calling on him to condemn the Prime Minister over a series of Covid rule-busting get-togethers at No 10, saying “this contemptible behaviour needs calling out, regardless of political persuasion”, and cited the anger that his constituents are feeling as a result of the party.

Commenting on the letter, Coun Dane Anderton for Leigh West and chairperson of Leigh Constituency Labour Party said: “People across Leigh pulled together to protect lives and livelihoods as we came through some of the darkest months of the pandemic.

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Leigh MP James Grundy

“Bereaved families, our key workers and all those that diligently followed the rules have been mocked by Boris Johnson.

“James Grundy MP must choose – is he on the side of those who followed the rules to protect the NHS and save lives, or the out of touch Tory Government who treat them with contempt.”

Mr Grundy responded: “I am aware of the reports in the press about both PM Boris Johnson and Labour Leader Keir Starmer attending drinking events with staff during lockdown.

“I think the public will be disappointed with the actions of both leaders, which are clearly wrong, and should not have happened.

Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions

“It was right for the Prime Minister to apologise, and I hope Labour Leader Keir Starmer will offer a similar apology in due course.

“I live with my medically vulnerable 81-year-old father, and my family were very careful to follow the rules for fear of what might happen to him if he did catch coronavirus, as did most other members of the public and their families, and I completely understand the public outrage on this issue, especially amongst those who lost loved ones.

“I think both leaders should be held to the same standard on this, and hope the Labour Group on the council will condemn the actions of both leaders, as I have.

“I await the outcome of the independent report next week, and will act accordingly on its findings.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer

The image of Sir Keir, standing close to two other people while having a beer, was taken from outside the window of a constituency office in Durham in the days leading up to the Hartlepool by-election.

At the time England was in step two out of the third lockdown and indoor mixing between different households was banned except in work scenarios.

Labour has denied any rules were broken.

A party statement read: “Keir was in the workplace, meeting a local MP in her constituency office and participating in an online Labour Party event.”

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