DAVID Warburton MP has said only three people were allowed to attend his father's funeral shortly before gatherings with alcohol were reportedly held in Downing Street. 

The Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome has expressed his disappointment "to hear of these events" and said "it's an understatement to say I understand the distress caused” by the reported gatherings.

Mr Warburton issued a statement on his website after receiving “an enormous volume of correspondence regarding the prime minister’s leadership”.

He thanked his constituents for contacting him “to share their thoughts” and ensured “they will be passed on”.

His statement comes after he tweeted about the circumstances surrounding his father's death and funeral on Sunday.

In the statement, he said: “I understand the strength of feeling on this matter.

“In April 2020, during the first UK lockdown, my father died almost entirely alone.

“Days later, just three of us were allowed to attend what passed for his funeral – a short burial with no one allowed inside the church.  

“This was exactly a week before the first reported Downing Street party. 

“So, it’s an understatement to say that I understand the distress caused by the revelations of activity inside No.10.

“And my personal experience is far from unique.

“People across the country, and many of my constituents, can tell similar stories.”

Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, is currently investigating a number of gatherings that reportedly took place in Downing Street in 2020 while lockdown restrictions were in place across England.

Her investigation will consider several events, including the alleged “bring your own booze” gathering held on May 20, 2020, and another gathering reportedly held in the garden of No. 10 five days earlier.

Mr Warburton said: “I, like many of you, am extremely disappointed to hear of these events which took place, and I know that, irrespective of Sue Gray’s report, many across the country have made up their mind on this. 

“Now, I want to gain a full understanding of the detail of these events and how they were allowed to happen which, hopefully, Sue Gray’s report will establish.  

“However, I understand that this will not be enough for many.”

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He added: “More needs to be done to improve the culture within Government, as well as people’s perception of that culture.

“And that is going to be a difficult mountain to climb.”

Ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) today, Christian Wakeford MP, who represents Bury South, defected from the Conservatives to the Labour Party.

In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Wakeford said: “Britain needs a government focused on tackling the cost of living crisis and providing a path out of the pandemic that protects living standards and defends the security of all.

“It needs a government that upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity in public life and sadly both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves.”

Somerset County Gazette: PM: Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend PMQs (Image: Stefan Rousseau, PA Wire)PM: Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend PMQs (Image: Stefan Rousseau, PA Wire)

During PMQs, Tory MP David Davis quoted Leo Amery’s words to Neville Chamberlain in 1940, telling Mr Johnson: “In the name of God, go.”

Mr Johnson told the House of Commons: “It is for the inquiry to come forward with an explanation of what happened.”

He also said that “people across Government have been working flat out to protect the British public” throughout the pandemic.

James Heappey MP, who represents Wells, defended the prime minister in media interviews this morning.

He told BBC Breakfast: “This doesn’t feel like the time to be changing Prime Minister to me.”

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “Sue Gray will have forensically gone through all of this, and we just need to see what Sue Gray’s report comes back with.”

Read more: 'Downing Street parties utterly indefensible' - Ian Liddell-Grainger 

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