Pandemic ‘blighted by Government flouting Covid rules’ says doctor fighting for Met probe into No 10 Xmas bash

The UK’s response to the pandemic has been “blighted by the Government flouting Covid rules,” a doctor fighting for an investigation into the rumoured Christmas parties thrown in No 10 has said.

Dr Rachel Clarke, an NHS palliative care doctor who lives in Oxfordshire, accused the Government of leading the pandemic while using “sneak privileges like parties that other people are denied.”

The demand for the probe follows reports from the Daily Mirror newspaper that on 18 December around 40 people drank and celebrated late into the night, while the rest of London was under Tier 3 restrictions, as well as several other areas of England.

The doctor will send the open letter of complaint addressed to the Met today, calling for an investigation to be launched into the two No 10 parties that reportedly went ahead last Christmas. It has been signed by more than 3000 NHS workers on the frontline of the crisis in the last 24 hours.

Boris Johnson on Wednesday refused to deny that a large party was held in No 10 in late December – breaking the regulations.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick told LBC News on Friday that the police force needed a letter of complaint to look into the alleged breaches of lockdown occurring in the form of Christmas parties at 10 Downing Street.

One GP who signed the letter wrote: “In December 2020, I was working 60-70 hours a week doing telephone and video triage, and running a large practice in complete isolation from friends and family. There were no parties.”

A health visitor wrote: “I spent a year shielding, didn’t get to see family and friends, including my 83-year-old dad.

“I continued to work remotely throughout, supporting isolated women, some low in mood, some in abusive relationships, one left a widow before the birth of her second child due to her fit, healthy husband dying of Covid.

“To hear that the PM is said to have hosted parties at 10 Downing St disgusts me.”

“Downing Street should set an example of decent, moral, impeccable pandemic behaviour. It should lead the country by example, not sneak privileges like parties that other people are denied,” Dr Clarke told i.

“The idea that the very people who wrote the rules could have ignored them – even while all this was unfolding around them – is despicable.

“The entire pandemic has been blighted by examples of members of government flouting the rules and getting away it.

“It is sickening – such an insult and kick in the teeth to all those who have suffered and endured grief and loss.

“If Boris Johnson had looked into the eyes of dying patients like we have, he would never have permitted lock-down breaking booze-ups on his watch. Only someone wildly out of touch with the reality of Covid would be so callous and cavalier.”

“If London’s police force turns a blind eye to this latest example, I will be devastated,” she added.

Labour MPs have also reported Boris Johnson to the Met over the allegations.

Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, wrote to the Met police commissioner, writing that “Johnson is not above the law, despite his bloated self-entitlement.”

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner backed the call, adding: “If these events did take place, it implies there is one rule for the government and another for everyone else.”

A spokesperson for the Met said: “It is our policy not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations, we will however consider the correspondence received.”

“The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting and has received correspondence relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at a Government building on two dates in November and December 2020,” it added.

i has approached Downing Street for comment.

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