Michael Fabricant appeared on Sky News to address the Downing Street parties held during lockdown and argued the gatherings had a lower risk of spreading coronavirus because it was outside and locked off from the public. But Mr Fabricant got annoyed after he was presented with a story from a woman who lost her mother on the same day as the party and accused Sarah-Jane Mee of going off on a “monologue”. Mr Fabricant also said he had “sympathy” for the Downing Street staff and said they have been working hard to ensure the UK could get out of the pandemic.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Fabricant argued because the Downing Street garden was “secure” and that people were following social distancing then the gatherings had little risk of spreading Covid.
But Ms Mee pointed out the Tory MP may be missing the point when others across the country followed the rules.
She said: “We spoke to Lindsay Jackson who on May 20, that was the last day her mum was alive.
“She didn’t get to say a proper goodbye and she said I enjoyed the lovely weather in the garden that day, on my own, as per the rules.
“She wasn’t even allowed to hug her brother in the garden.
“So with respect, I don’t think some MPs are understanding the frustration and anger if you are going to excuse people coming out…”
As the presenter continued her attack on the Conservatives, Mr Fabricant interrupted and said: “Are you going to let me get a word in edgeways or are you going to do a monologue?”
Mr Fabricant said he did understand the situation because he knew someone who had to say goodbye to their mother who was taken away in an ambulance during the pandemic.
He said he was not “making excuses” and said Sue Grey, who is responsible for the internal investigation, may find “heads will roll” for the gatherings.
Mr Fabricant argued that because the Downing Street staff were working together in secure environments then the risk of spreading Covid to the wider public was reduced compared to everyone else.
The Tory MP clashed with Ms Mee yet again, asking her to “let her interviewee get in occasionally”.
He concluded that the decision on whether the gathering broke the law was down to Sue Grey but also said those attending were key workers.
He also said he had a “huge amount of sympathy” for the people involved as they have been working hard to ensure the vaccination programme got off the ground.
Ms Mee retorted that scientists and other workers helping with the pandemic across the country may see things differently.
ITV News published an email allegedly sent by Martin Reynolds, who runs the Prime Minister’s private office, which asked Downing Street staffers if they wanted to attend a boozy gathering.
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The email, believed to have been sent to over 100 people, read: “Hi all, After what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.
“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”
Downing Street has been attempting to kill off stories that accuse staff of flouting lockdown rules after an image emerged of Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie, and a dozen or so staff hanging out in the No10 gardens.
Health Minister Edward Argar appeared on the morning media round following the news and told the BBC: “I can entirely understand why people who’ve lost loved ones, or people who’ve just had their lives hugely disrupted by these restrictions, are angry and upset by these allegations.”