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Kent MP Sir Roger Gale warned people to stay off beach on day of Downing Street garden party


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On the day Boris Johnson reportedly enjoyed an illegal Downing Street party, one Kent MP was branding people "reckless" for going to the beach.

At the same time, a heavily pregnant councillor faced giving birth alone due to hospital restrictions and is now calling on the Prime Minister to resign.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

North Thanet Tory Sir Roger Gale warned sunseekers from as far as away as Essex against travelling to the Garden of England, as he feared they could expose their loved ones to Covid on May 20, 2020.

The politician - who has been heavily critical of the Prime Minister - circulated his thoughts at 6.55pm, while dozens of government staff are said to have gathered in the garden of Number 10.

“Over the past few days people have even been driving from Essex - past Southend - to come to Herne Bay and Margate. That is madness,” the Conservative said ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

“The idea that ‘it won't get me’ or that ‘we'll get away with it’ is exposing not only the visitors but their family and friends back home to terrible and possibly fatal infection. I would ask everyone to err on the side of caution.

“Instead of a cheap and nasty Whit weekend (we should) look forward to a grand reopening of pubs, restaurants, cafes and full beach facilities – hopefully in time for mid-July.”

That same evening, Councillor April Clark, leader of the Green Party for Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, faced giving birth alone due to restrictions on visitors in hospital.

She said: "When I did go into labour unexpectedly early, it was actually really frightening to be in the hospital on my own and not to have my husband, the father of my son, to support me in making decisions about my own care.

"It actually breaks my heart, even though the end of my story is a good one as my husband was allowed in at the very last minute.

"There are countless stories of parents that have missed the birth of their children.

"People who missed the last breath of their loved ones who were dying."

Cllr April Clark was in hospital alone on the day of the alleged party. Picture: Andy Jones
Cllr April Clark was in hospital alone on the day of the alleged party. Picture: Andy Jones

Ms Clark continued: "To hear that these guys were just having a party at the same time to take advantage of the beautiful weather like, I wish I could have done that.

"It has actually emotionally affected me a lot. It's very raw still."

She is now calling on Boris Johnson to resign for the "hypocrisy" of his party's actions.

"You shouldn't have to have an investigation to be able to tell if you were in a party in your own garden, I mean that is just a mockery.

"I don't know what else he has to do in order to resign. That is absolutely what he must do."

Her comments came as a leaked email from Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, shows he invited more than 100 Downing Street employees to a "bring your own booze" garden party.

In the message – sent to staff including advisers, speechwriters and door staff – the civil servant said “it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather” by having some some “socially distanced drinks”.

About 40 people allegedly attended the soirée on May 20, more than a week before the rule of six was brought in.

Boris Johnson and wife Carrie are reported by multiple sources, including former right-hand man Dominic Cummings, to have attended.

“I know it`s tempting (to go to the beach) – particularly in this glorious weather,” Sir Roger added on the same evening.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds in 2016 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds in 2016 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

“But even my desperately hard-pressed local businesses would prefer a short, good, summer season in July and August to a reckless bank holiday.”

So far 12 rule-breaking parties involving government officials are said to have taken place between May and December 2020.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating the alleged lockdown gatherings.

Referring to the probe, Sir Roger last night tweeted: "This is clearly a matter that Ms Gray will wish to add to her investigations and adjudicate appropriately."

Ms Gray, a Cabinet Office official, has already confirmed she is investigating the May 20 event as part of her inquiry, along with a separate party five days before.

The latter was revealed by a leaked photo showing the Prime Minister and staff sat around a table with cheese and wine.

At the time, the public was banned from socialising, while ceremonies like funerals were limited to just a handful of guests.

KentOnline has approached Sir Roger for comment.

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