GARY Neville has attacked Boris Johnson and his “cronies” for partying on Downing Street last Christmas while the rest of the UK was under Covid restrictions.
The Daily Mirror reported two events took place in No 10 in the run-up to the festive season, including the Prime Minister giving a speech at a leaving do during November’s lockdown.
The other was said to be a staff party in December where party games were played, food and drinks were served, and revelries went on past midnight.
Neville, a high-profile football pundit, businessman and critic of the UK Government, tweeted: “Are we really going to let this Number 10 party go? No chance!
“Last Xmas was a misery. Listening to him standing up there telling us what we couldn’t do. Families not seeing each other, loved ones dying alone. Whilst him and his cronies party in a tax payer funded residence!”
Are we really going to let this Number 10 party go? No chance! Last Xmas was a misery . Listening to him standing up there telling us what we couldn’t do. Families not seeing each other , loved ones dying alone. Whilst him and his cronies party in a tax payer funded residence !
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) December 6, 2021
Earlier, the UK’s policing minister claimed he knows “nothing about” the Christmas parties, but insisted no rules were broken. Kit Malthouse said on Monday he would take Downing Street’s insistence that all regulations were complied with during the reported bash on December 18 at “face value”.
He also suggested there may have been circumstances such as distancing between attendees that would have permitted the gathering – despite London being in Tier 3 banning social mixing indoors at the time.
At the time, the Tier 3 rules in place in London explicitly banned work Christmas lunches and parties where it is “a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted”.
Malthouse told Sky News: “I know nothing about it – I’ve been assured by No 10 that no rules were broken if there was a gathering of any kind.
“No 10 are reassuring everybody that all rules were complied with during that period and I take that reassurance at face value, but no doubt if the police are alerted they will have a look and they will form a view and we’ll learn more about it in the days to come.
“The police should be investigating anything that is a historic crime to them.”
Sally Nugent – Would you support an official investigation into the party at No.10 that broke covid rules?
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) December 6, 2021
The Home Office minister conceded he is “not an investigator” when questioned on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how the Christmas party could have been within the rules.
“I asked the question was all the regulations complied with, I was reassured they were, I have to take that at face value, that’s absolutely what I’m sure is the case, it’s for others if they want to decide to take it further,” he added.
“They reassured me that all the regulations were followed and, of course, I believe them.”
The Tory minister declined to say whether it would have been within the rules for BBC staff to have held a party with drinks, nibbles and party games.
But he added: “You’re asking me a hypothetical question, I don’t know what the circumstances might have been, how far people would’ve been apart, what size of space it was, there are all sorts of variations.”
Those remarks appeared to contradict deputy PM Dominic Raab, who admitted on Sunday that if a party took place it would have broken the rules.
Families who lost loved ones during the pandemic have said they were “sickened” by the reports, with the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group urging the Prime Minister to apologise.
The Metropolitan Police Service says it “is aware of widespread reporting and has received correspondence relating to alleged breaches of the health protection regulations at a Government building on two dates in November and December 2020”.
The forced added: “It is our policy not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations; we will however consider the correspondence received.”