Downing Street party: Sunderland families react as questions continue over lockdown gathering

Calls are growing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ‘come clean’ following reports of a ‘bring your own booze’ party at Downing Street during England’s first national lockdown.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 3:30 pm

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, asked an urgent question in the House of Commons on Tuesday, January 11 as the row over the alleged gathering – said to have taken place on May 20, 2020 – escalated.

It's reported that around 100 people were invited to ‘socially-distanced’ drinks in the Downing Street garden on that date in an email sent by Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary.

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The contents of the email were revealed by ITV News on Monday, January 10. Around 40 people are thought to have attended the gathering.

Some MPs sitting in the Commons on Tuesday raised cases of constituents who suffered losses during the pandemic and were unable to attend funerals.

Also on Tuesday, countless people on social media were sharing their stories of what was happening in their lives at that time.

We asked the Sunderland Echo readers what they were doing on the day of the alleged party. The first national lockdown in England began in March 2020.

From muted life celebrations to grieving for lost loved ones, this is what you had to say on the Echo’s Facebook page:

Donna Stokoe: “My mam was in a nursing home and I wasn't allowed to see her. She died April gone, all those weeks I had no contact when she needed me. Hold your head in shame Boris.”

Nathan Shezza: “Telling my five-year-old she couldn’t have a party and her family couldn’t come in the house."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to a Boots pharmacy on January 10, 2022. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images.

Brenda Galey: “Telling my family only 16 people allowed in crematorium with me.”

Jessica Lincoln: “Celebrating my birthday in the house.”

Michelle Miller: “Grieving the death of my dad. Only eight allowed at funeral. Couldn't give the send off he deserved.”

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, asked an urgent question in the Commons on January 11. She is pictured here with Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Rob Pinney/Getty Images.

Shell Smith: “Fed up because I could not see my friends and family.”

Helen Fitzakerly: “Day after my dad’s funeral, to which we were only allowed 15 people and no opportunity to get together afterwards.”

Phil Tomlin: “Nowt special, just getting on with life.”

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