MEMBERS of Somerset Labour have condemned the prime minister after he admitted to attending a "bring your own booze" gathering at Number 10 in May 2020.

Boris Johnson apologised for attending the event at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) yesterday and said he "believed implicitly that this was a work event".

He told MPs he attended the event on May 20, 2020, for around 25 minutes "to thank groups of staff", but "with hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them". 

In his statement in the House of Commons, he said: "Mr Speaker, I want to apologise.

"I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.

"I know the anguish that they have been through - unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they want, or do the things they love.

"And I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead, when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules."

He also asked that senior civil servant Sue Gray "be allowed to complete her inquiry into that day and several others so that the full facts can be established".

Somerset County Gazette: "PARTY'S OVER": Sir Keir Starmer faced Boris Johnson at PMQs in the House of Commons yesterday (Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)"PARTY'S OVER": Sir Keir Starmer faced Boris Johnson at PMQs in the House of Commons yesterday (Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

At PMQs, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked if the prime minister is "going to do the decent thing and resign", adding: "The party’s over, prime minister!"

Now, members of the Labour Party in Somerset have commented on the prime minister's attendance at the gathering and his PMQs statement. 

Councillor Brian Smedley, leader of Bridgwater Town Council, said: "Same old Tory, one rule for us and another for them.

"70,000 people died of Covid in 2020.

"458 of them were across Somerset and, whilst 108 people died here in Sedgemoor, a similar number were invited to a Downing Street drinks party in clear violation of the rules that everyone else was abiding by.

"What blatant contempt.

"People have stopped laughing along with Boris, now every time he opens his mouth they just laugh at what comes out." 

Cllr Kath Pearce, deputy leader of Bridgwater Town Council and Sedgemoor Labour Group, said: "It’s an absolute disgrace that the prime minister acted in such a cavalier way when families were being torn apart by one of the highest rates of Covid deaths in Europe at that time. 

"It’s always been one rule for him and another for the rest of us.

"And, still, he fails to take full responsibility. 

"Enough, it’s time for him to go." 

Cllr Terry Ledie, who represents Abbey Manor South in Yeovil Town Council, believes the prime minister's position is "now untenable".

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, who represents North East Somerset in Parliament, has defended the prime minister

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: "I think the prime minister has got things right again and again and again.

"But like us all, he accepts that during a two-and-a-half-year period, there will be things that with hindsight would have been done differently."

He also said some Conservative MPS who have called for the prime minister's resignation are "fundamentally mistaken" and have misjudged "where we are and what the prime minister has succeeded in doing". 

The prime minister has also received support from chancellor Riski Sunak, levelling up secretary Michael Gove, and culture secretary Nadine Dorries. 

Some Tory MPs have reacted angrily to the reported gathering, including Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who said he was "absolutely horrified" by the allegations.

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