London MPs have slammed the Government over a party held in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown in 2020.
Boris Johnson is under pressure over an alleged “bring-your-own-booze” outdoor event, which 100 people were invited to on May 20, 2020.
Johnson confirmed he attended the party but said he believed it to be a work meeting.
An email invited people to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening”, when lockdown restrictions were still in place, ITV revealed.
Downing Street said the gathering (among others that allegedly took place under COVID restrictions in 2020) – is being looked into as part of an independent investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
Labour MP for Hammersmith Andy Slaughter said: “The Government and Boris Johnson in particular cannot hide behind the inquiry.
“That will take its course but he is in a position to answer the questions raised by the letter now – in particular why the party was allowed to take place (at his home) and who attended?
“The attitude of those who organised and attended the party, as with the Allegra Stratton ‘press conference’, is revealing as to how the people at the top of Government regard my constituents.
“There are double standards here – one rule for the rulers and one for the ruled – but also a clear contempt for people who were doing their best under the most taxing of circumstances to fight the virus and sacrifice their own and their family’s needs for the good of the whole community.
“It reminds me of nothing so much as Animal Farm.”
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, said: “It’s a very simple issue, really.
“Can you tell the public to follow strict rules, which included separating people from their sick and dying loved ones, whilst flouting them at scale yourself?
“Responding to crises like the pandemic required everyone to show social and civic solidarity.
“Seems like the Government were paying lip service to that whilst laughing at it behind their hands.”
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has defended the garden party at Downing Street, claiming people were not mixing with “outsiders”.
He told BBC News: “The difference with funerals [and] marriage ceremonies…is that you’re meeting outsiders.
“This isn’t involving outsiders; it is a secure area”.
The Met Police said it was in contact with the government over “widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches” of COVID rules.