'He's a hypocrite!': Outrage over Downing Street party but silence from city Tories

Clive Lewis and Natasha Harpley

People in Norwich have reacted with fury over allegations a party was held in Downing Street last December - Credit: Archant/Natasha Harpley

Fury is building after footage showed government staff joking about a party apparently held while the rest of the country was in partial lockdown.

But today neither Norwich North MP Chloe Smith or the city's Conservative association were willing to speak up when approached by the Evening News.

Meanwhile hundreds of city folk have voted in an Evening News poll - and more than 90pc want Boris Johnson to quit on the back of 'partygate'. 

Last night ITV broadcasted footage of Mr Johnson's then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, special adviser Ed Oldfield and other aides joking about a "fictional" Downing Street party.

The party, which is believed to have taken place on December 18, would have been illegal under the Covid restrictions of the time.

But even in light of the footage Mr Johnson today continued to deny he knew of the gathering and told a packed House of Commons he had been reassured no Covid rules were broken. 

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, said: “Boris Johnson was behaving in a hypocritical way at a time when people couldn’t hold the hands of their loved ones as they died.  

Most Read

“But this is a much bigger problem than this one incident. We have a party in charge of a country that doesn’t care about anybody other than themselves and their supporters.  

“We’ve already had the Dominic Cummings debacle, the lies over NHS hospitals and the shambles of levelling up.  

Labour's Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Labour's Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

“How much more of this can we take? We have to stop voting these people into power.”

He added: "Boris Johnson should consider his position. The scale of this coverup demands that the PM take responsibility."

And in the city this lunchtime shoppers were outraged. 

Denise Alan said: “I made sacrifices last year, my granddaughter got married just before Christmas, we weren’t able to go to that. We didn’t see her or my great grandchildren for Christmas. It was just my husband and I.  

“I have no faith in the government in light of this news.” 

And Sherry Harrod added: "I think Boris Johnson should resign. We couldn’t visit my mum last Christmas who is disabled and housebound.

"I think it is one rule for them and another for anyone else."

Natasha Harpley,district councillor for Sprowston, Pic: Labour Party.

Natasha Harpley,district councillor for Sprowston, Pic: Labour Party. - Credit: Labour Party

Sprowston district councillor Natasha Harpley's mum died last September, Ms Harpley hadn't seen her for six months due to her being vulnerable. 

She said: "There's just no way to sum it up, I can't find the words.

"It's just really grating, so many of us were going through something and still followed the rules. We don't think we're above the law.

"People knew it was their last Christmas with loved ones, and to see them disregarding their own rules is disrespectful.

"It's like Barnard Castle but so much worse, the lie is unbelievable. How stupid do they think we are?

"They did it, and now they're gaslighting us.

Natasha Harpley tweet

A tweet from Natasha Harpley - Credit: Twitter/@tashharpley

"I put Christmas on hold because my mother died at the end of September. And because of the backlog of Covid deaths, we had to wait until January for the inquest. Which was via Zoom.

"I was the only one who could do a reading at the funeral and I couldn't hug my family. It was sterile like you couldn't imagine. And so many people were going through the same thing.

"I was really struggling with my grief paired with the pain of isolation. People need human contact but lots of us couldn't have any.

"It's not just people who are ill either, we know domestic violence went up during lockdown, and those who were fleeing that could have benefited from being near friends and family, but they couldn't either.

"I'm so unbelievably angry and resentful for myself and everyone who suffered during isolation."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter