‘I remember 20 May 2020 vividly, I spent hours on the phone to a man who was in the hospital car park, utterly desperate to see his wife. He begged, wept, shouted to be let in, but we said no – for the greater good of everyone else. She died unexpectedly and alone, as the government had a party.’
…We let people die alone. Just think about that. We let desperate, terrified men howl in car parks. We kept husband from wife, wife from husband. We let people give birth alone. We deprived the elderly of visits from their loved ones. We left dementia sufferers to believe, in their rare moments of lucidity, that their sons and daughters and grandchildren had abandoned them. We let people die alone.
Downing Street staff were invited to a drinks party in the Number 10 garden during the height of nationwide lockdown to “make the most of the lovely weather”.
An email shared exclusively with ITV News provides the first evidence of a party on May 20, 2020, when the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors.
The No 10 Christmas party was planned for three weeks with invitations sent to officials and advisers on WhatsApp while the UK was in full lockdown, The Times has been told.
Invitations to last year’s event were circulated at the end of November, asking people to attend the press office’s “secret Santa” gathering with an exchange of gifts. The invitation said it would be held on December 18 and that there would be food and wine.
The messages are likely to form part of an inquiry by Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, who is seeking to establish whether the event was a party and therefore represented a breach of lockdown rules. Case has said he is prepared to hand over any evidence to the police.