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Healthcare union blasts 'inexcusable' No.10 BYOB party as Boris Johnson dodges scrutiny

Boris Johnson did not turn up to the House of Commons to respond to allegations that he attended an illegal party while the UK was in lockdown.

Boris Johnson stands at a podium with government warnings, with his head bowed

In May 2020 Boris Johnson instructued the UK to "to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives." Image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

The UK’s leading healthcare union has called an alleged Downing Street ‘bring your own booze’ garden party during lockdown “inexcusable.” 

Unison hit out at the reported party that took place on May 20 2020, saying key workers “who were putting their lives on the line to keep essential services running” weren’t even allowed to comfort their families as the country was in full lockdown. 

“No matter how exhausted and stressed, they weren’t allowed to socialise, let off steam or comfort their families,” said Jon Richards, Unison assistant general secretary.

“It’s inexcusable that those involved with setting the rules appear to have failed to follow them.”

Boris Johnson is facing mounting pressure to respond to the allegations that more than 40 Downing Street staff gathered for drinks in the garden of Number 10 following an email invitation from top civil servant Martin Reynolds. 

“After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No.10 garden this evening,” reads the email. 

Labour tried to force Johnson to respond to allegations that he attended the party, but the prime minister did not attend the House of Commons on Tuesday, instead sending a junior minister. 

“Despite having no official engagements listed today, the prime minister has again failed to turn up to parliament and face the music” said Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.

“His absence speaks volumes. Boris Johnson holds the British public in contempt.

“While key workers toiled round the clock on the frontline, families lost loved ones and the entire country sacrificed our freedoms, the prime minister was partying.

More than 360 people died from Covid on the day Downing Street held a ‘BYOB’ garden party during the first coronavirus lockdown in May 2020.

The Metropolitan Police is being sued by the Good Law Project over its refusal to investigate an alleged Christmas party at Downing Street during lockdown in December 2020.

It can be hard to keep on top of all of the revelations, what with there being so many, so here’s a list of them – or the ones we know about anyway.

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