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Downing Street party claim ‘defies belief’, says Wales’ health minister

Eluned Morgan addressed the controversy over an alleged party in Downing Street at the height of the 2020 lockdown at a Welsh Government briefing.

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The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Wales’s health minister has said the allegation that the Prime Minister attended a lockdown-breaking drinks party in Downing Street at the height of the global coronavirus pandemic “defies belief”.

Eluned Morgan said Boris Johnson has undermined his position as leader of the UK and urged him to give clear answers to concerns because the “public deserves to know what was actually going on”.

During a Welsh Government press briefing on Tuesday, she said: “If we remember back to what was happening in the May 2020, it was about the most acute time in the whole crisis.

“I just think about the sacrifices that so many people in Wales made at that time – sacrifices of not being able to say goodbye face to face to loved ones in hospitals, sacrifices people made in terms of not being able to leave their homes to see loved ones, not being able to reach out for the support that so many people wanted at that time.

“To have that juxtaposed with a situation where, within Downing Street, a party was going on really defies belief.

“I do hope that the Prime Minister will do his duty and report to the House of Commons this afternoon. It is his responsibility to lead from the front and to lead through example.”

Mr Johnson chose not to attend the House of Commons to respond to Labour’s urgent question on the gathering and instead sent Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis to field questions on his behalf.

Baroness Morgan added: “I’m afraid we’ve seen once again that he has failed to give clear answers on some very simple questions, and I think the public deserves to know what was actually going on and how it is he can’t recollect a situation where he was certainly involved in some way in parties going on.

“I think it undermines the authority of the Prime Minister and has possibly led to the situation where he is not able to undertake the advice that certainly we’ve been having from our advisers in terms of bringing in new restrictions, because clearly people are likely to be less willing to follow the example set by a Prime Minister who is simply not following his own rules.”

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