Downing Street party: Minister who lost babies in pandemic criticises Boris Johnson

- BBC News

Downing Street party: Minister who lost babies in pandemic criticises Boris Johnson

A minister whose baby twins died during the pandemic has criticised Boris Johnson over lockdown drinks parties in Downing Street.

Guy Opperman told the BBC in May 2020 - when the PM attended a garden party - he could not visit his wife and sons in hospital due to Covid rules.

His twins Rafe and Teddy died shortly afterwards.

But Mr Opperman said Mr Johnson should stay in post and a report into Downing Street parties should be completed.

However, he added that the prime minister needed to change his ways and get better people around him.

No 10 has urged critical MPs to wait for senior civil servant Sue Gray to finish her report into lockdown gatherings.

Earlier this week Mr Johnson acknowledged that he attended a drinks gathering on 20 May 2020 but insisted he believed it was a work event.

Downing Street has also apologised to Buckingham Palace after it emerged two staff parties were held at No 10 on the night before Prince Philips funeral.

Mr Johnson was not at either event, but his spokesman said it was "deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning".

Speaking to BBCs Politics North programme, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman - the MP for Hexham in Northumberland - said: "I feel pretty emotional about this because in May 2020 my wife and kids were unwell and they went to hospital.

"I was not able to go there to support them.

"And Ive got constituents who couldnt go to the care homes, to funerals who were obviously obeying the rules and quite clearly in No 10 at that time there were a number of people not behaving appropriately.

"I feel pretty emotion that I wasnt able to support my wife and kids."

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP are all calling for Mr Johnson to resign after he admitted attending the 20 May 2020 drinks party in the Downing Street garden during lockdown.

And Andrew Bridgen has become the fifth Conservative MP to publicly declare they have written to the chairman of the 1922 Committee - which organises Tory leadership contests - to say they have no confidence in the prime minister.

Fifty-four Conservative MPs have to write a letter to trigger a vote.

Elsewhere the former head of the governments Covid taskforce has apologised for attending a leaving drinks at the Cabinet Office on 17 December 2020 when she left the civil service.

Kate Josephs, who is now the chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said she was "truly sorry" for "the anger that people will feel".

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