Downing Street party: Northumberland families react as questions continue over lockdown gathering

Calls are growing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ‘come clean’ following reports of a ‘bring your own booze’ party at Downing Street during England’s first national lockdown.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 3:35 pm

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, asked an urgent question in the House of Commons on Tuesday, January 11 as the row over the alleged gathering – said to have taken place on May 20, 2020 – escalated.

It's reported that around 100 people were invited to ‘socially-distanced’ drinks in the Downing Street garden on that date, following an email sent out by Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary.

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The contents of the email were revealed by ITV News on Monday, January 10. Around 40 people are thought to have attended the gathering.

Some MPs sitting in the Commons on Tuesday raised heartbreaking cases of constituents who suffered personal losses during this time of the pandemic.

Also on Tuesday, countless people on social media were sharing their stories of what was happening in their lives at that time.

We asked the Northumberland Gazette readers what they were doing on the day of the alleged party. The first national lockdown in England began in March 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to a Boots pharmacy on January 10, 2022. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images.

From muted life celebrations to grieving for lost loved ones, this is what you had to say:

Doug Waller: “The ‘them and us ‘ arrogance is way, way off and above the scale.”

David Anderson: “Like the rest of the country I was obeying the newly-introduced laws and guidance of lockdown.”

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, asked an urgent question in the Commons on January 11. She is pictured here with Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Rob Pinney/Getty Images.

Kirsty Nelson: “Coming to terms with the loss of my dad knowing only 10 of his family could go to his funeral.”

Louise Marie: “Praying my Dad would pull through after catching Covid in early April! Thankfully after eight weeks in ICU we got him home, but he still struggles to this day.”

Katie Rigby: “We buried my father - just eight of us at the graveside, no church service or wake.”

Kerry Surtees: “Having to have a pregnancy consultation due to gestational diabetes over the phone instead of a face-to-face appointment.”

Jacqueline Baird: “My sister-in-law was dying of cancer in hospital with strict rules on visitors. Both her parents were high risk so they could not be with her.”

J Lou Hood: “Working as a mental health nurse for the NHS.... leaving my family to care for others, wearing a face mask constantly, lateral flows, two weekly, to keep everyone safe.”

Lynne Watson: “Visiting my mother in hospital - with Covid for a second time and the possibility she may die. She did die in July.”

Alison Walton-Robson: “I was running daily Zooms supporting terrified (and bereaved) learning disabled people, and their families who were isolated at home making sure they were not struggling through lack of support or thought for their mental health.”

Keith Cockburn: “My beautiful dear wife was losing her battle with COPD while the Government were dictating how many may be allowed to mourn her I hope they are proud of themselves at their parties and the misery they caused for so many!”

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