GB News : Michael Fabricant defends Boris Johnson
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The Lichfield MP told the channel’s Political Correspondent Tom Harwood that the “circumstances” of working in Downing Street differ to other workplaces across Britain and despite what it may seem from the outside, Coronavirus lockdown rule flouting party goers should be considered in a different light when a decision is being made about a No10 party held at the height of lockdown.
His comments follow a leaked email seen by ITV News, sent by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, which invited over 100 Downing Street staff to a “bring your own booze” party on May 20, 2020
But speaking to GB News, Mr Fabricant said he is “keen is for people to understand the circumstances” of life in No 10.
He said: “It is not for me whether to judge whether it was legal or whether it was illegal.”
But he stressed how he felt it was important for people to also ”understand the context” of the allegedly rule-breaking event as he claimed Downing Street is different from the rest of UK workplaces.
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He said: “First of all, when you watch television, you see the front of ten Downing Street, you think it is very very small. In fact, it is three buildings connected into one, there are around 100 offices there!
“And I know from that period we are talking about, people were working long hours, 18-19 hour days, absolutely exhausted…
“To deliver one of the best vaccine programmes in the world and that is generally accepted.”
But in an alternative take on what could have been illegal proceedings, the Lichfield MP claimed that the party enabled Downing Street staffers to move out of “stuffy offices” and continue their work outside in a more Covid friendly environment.
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He claimed that from an “epidemiological point of view” the party paled into insignificance compared to the “18 hours they were stuck in the offices together”.
But the comment prompted host Tom Harwood to lash back arguing that the same view did not apply to other Britons at the time of the alleged rule-busting party.
He slammed: “I’m a key worker! I wasn’t allowed to go out and sit in the garden and have drinks, isn’t the hypocrisy angle here is what really gets at people?”
Mr Fabricant argued the case was different to Downing Street, insisting the “closed operation” that is No 10 means that it differs from other workplaces because it does not have a transient footfall of different people entering its buildings like other locations, a view hotly disputed by Mr Harwood.
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The email revealed to ITV reads: “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!”
Martin Reynolds is a senior Number 10 civil servant who has headed Mr Johnson’s private office since October 2019.
It has been reported that around 30 to 40 people attended the COVID-19 rule flouting bash but this is yet to be confirmed. It is not known whether Mr Johnson attended the party.
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