Members of the public have taken to social media to share heartbreaking stories of what they were doing while Downing Street staff members gathered in the garden for drinks during lockdown.
A leaked email sent to more than 100 Downing Street employees encouraged staff to ‘make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden’ on May 20, 2020; the same day the rest of the country was told to ‘stay at home’.
It is thought approximately 40 members of staff took up the offer which came from Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary, with attendees reportedly enjoying both drinks and picnic food.
The news has understandably infuriated people across the country, particularly those who stuck by the government’s rules even in the most difficult of circumstances.
To highlight the apparent disrespect shown by the government, social media users have been sharing stories of their own actions on and around May 20, 2020, with dozens recalling heartbreaking memories of staying away from loved ones.
One person shared a video of their family sitting outside their grandmother’s home, writing: ‘This is how we spent May 20th 2020 – @BorisJohnson – while @10DowningStreet were breaking your own rules and having a party for a 100 people in your tax funded garden, we were doing our best to support our 98 yr old Grandmother through her window.’
Another recalled being kept away from their own son’s birthday, while a third described being ‘alone, frightened and trying to care for [their] 100-year-old aunt.’
Other members of the public remembered struggling in the days surrounding the party, with one having marked the first anniversary of losing their father on May 19.
They wrote: ‘I visited my mum and sat in her garden just so she wasn’t alone that day. didn’t put my arms around her, and sat 2m away. The whole time I felt guilty that I was there as technically I was breaking the rules.’
Meanwhile, Twitter user Rosie Taylor was watching her step-grandmother’s funeral ‘over webcast’.
She wrote: ‘My mum, who was shielding, was unable to attend to say goodbye. It was heartbreaking seeing my uncles sat 2m apart unable to comfort each other. 24 hours later, No10 was partying. What did we suffer for?’
There’s a multitude of calls for the government to be held accountable for their actions, with the Met police assuring it is aware of the alleged breaches of lockdown and that it’s ‘in contact with the Cabinet Office.’
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