Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Partygate: Calls grow for PM’s top aide Martin Reynolds to be sacked
11 January 2022, 13:40
Campaigners have called for Martin Reynolds, one of Boris Johnson's top Number 10 aides, to be sacked after he invited staff to boozy Downing Street drinks during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Mr Reynolds is accused of sending an email invite to a party to more than 100 Downing Street Staff during lockdown. Forty people, including Boris Johnson and wife Carrie, are said to have attended.
Around 30 to 40 other people are understood to have attended in the garden of No10 where they enjoyed sausage rolls, crisps, other picnic food and drinks.
The allegation appears to shoot down No10s defence that parties held at Downing Street at that time were work gatherings.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said: "It’s blindingly obvious that Martin Reynolds has to go.
"If the prime minister was at this party then his position would be untenable. He’d have lost all moral authority to lead the country, after breaking his own rules that the rest of us followed, often at great sacrifice."
The group also shared multiple examples of people who lost loved ones around the date of the party on 20 May 2020.
Downing Street has said that Mr Johnson has "full confidence" in Mr Reynolds and "Martin continues in his role".
Health minister Edward Argar, doing the Government’s media round on Tuesday morning, could only answer "I don't know" when pressed if Mr Johnson was at the event.
Politicians did not respond to questions about the leaked email revealing another alleged Downing Street party as they came and went from Number 10 on Tuesday morning.
Andrew Griffith, parliamentary private secretary to the Prime Minister, gave no response to questions from reporters as he left.
George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, also did not respond as he stepped out of a Range Rover and entered the building.
Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment, responded only with "good morning".
The Prime Minister dodged a Commons debate on the issue today after an urgent question was posed in the Commons by Angela Rayner.
Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson’s absence from Parliament "speaks volumes"."The public have already drawn their conclusion – he can run but he can’t hide," she said.
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it has contacted the Cabinet Office over a "bring your own booze party" in May 2020, which came to light from a leaked email.
Before the Commons hearing, the PM's official spokesman declined to comment on the newly-reported party during an investigation, which is being led by civil servant Sue Gray.
He said: "I can't comment on the reports and claims, including those we've seen today.
"It wouldn't be appropriate to do so, I appreciate that may be a significant number of questions, but that remains our position.
"I think what everyone wants to do is establish the facts through this independent review and for those facts to be set out clearly once that work is concluded."