Banbury MP Victoria Prentis apologises for the 'hurt' the controversial Downing Street party caused as Labour leader expresses anger at 'lies'
Mrs Prentis was reacting to a challenge by Cherwell Labour leader, Cllr Sean Woodcock who lamented the pain some Banbury people suffered being unable to attend births, deaths and weddings because of the hard lockdown in 2020. She said she was not aware of the events until they hit the headlines.
It came during the week Prime Minister Boris Johnson confessed to attending the 'bring a bottle' party in the garden of No 10 Downing Street on May 20, 2020. He apologised in Parliament yesterday since when calls have been made for him to quit.
Mr Johnson acknowledged a sense of 'rage' among the public that strict lockdown rules because of Covid-19 were 'not being followed properly by those who made the rules'.
Mr Woodcock wrote to the Banbury Guardian accusing Mrs Prentis of pretending the Government did not lie.
He said: "Once again, we have been presented with evidence of the Prime Minister taking people in Cherwell for fools because they followed the rules.
"139 people in Cherwell died of Coronavirus in 2020. On top of that, local people missed once-in-a-lifetimes events. Birth of a child. A wedding, The death of a loved one.
"Yet while the rest of us, even in the height of summer, stayed at home to protect our NHS and save lives; over 100 people were getting invitations to a Bring Your Own Booze Party in Downing Street. A flagrant breach of those same rules that we all obeyed.
"Again and again with this government they lie. Yet Victoria Prentis will sit there and pretend that it is not the case."
Mrs Prentis said she understood how angry and upset people are about the events reported widely in the media.
“The last 23 months have been really challenging for us all. Many have lost loved ones, were unable to attend once-in-a-lifetime events and endured restrictions to keep our community safe. I know that most of us made real sacrifices.
"I can understand how angry and upset people are about the events which appear to have taken place in Downing Street in 2020. I was not aware of these events until they hit the press.
"The Prime Minister has apologised and an inquiry is now underway. It was right that the Prime Minister spoke today in Prime Minister's Questions and acknowledged the gravity of the situation," she said.
"It is important that we independently establish the facts and I am pleased Sue Grey will be leading on the inquiry. If it is found that rules were broken, then appropriate action should follow.
"I am so sorry for the hurt that this has caused.”