Boris Johnson criticised by Ashworth over 'drinking culture'
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Jonathan Ashworth launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, saying that his absence from the party that preceded Prince Philips’s funeral in April 2021 does “not remotely” deflect from the fact that he took part in the garden gathering 11 months earlier. The Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pension criticised the Prime Minister for not being vocal enough and reprimanding his staff after he was notified about the two parties which took place on the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s burial. Talking on GB News, he said that the fact he is not accused of any wrongdoing this time does not absolve him from any responsibility as he should have laid the law down and banned his Downing Street staff from partying.
Britons reacted with fury over Downing Street staff organising two parties during lockdown but Mr Johnson’s absence “counts for anything” Mr Ashworth stressed.
He said: “We know he attended the party in May at a time when people could not say their proper goodbyes to their loved ones who had died, either from Covid or from something else.
“We know he went to that party and he’s tried to say sorry for it. But what beggars belief is, having known there was that social gathering why did he not say: listen me and my staff never want this to happen ever again.
“When we’re through this crisis we’ll do a suitable thank you to the staff because I’d imagine the staff are working on the hours.
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“But why did he not say to his staff: Look, that is utterly out of order and shouldn’t have happened! We cannot possibly have anything like that ever again.”
Mr Ashworth shed light on how times have changed as alcohol consumption has spiked from his time in Downing Street as pleaded with the Prime Minister to let the public “have access to the staterooms” from time to time.
He said: “I think it reveals a culture of drinking, partying and not focussing on the needs of British people in Downing Street.
“And I worked in Downing Street, we would hold receptions for NHS staff or for people who have done great charitable endeavours in their community or for the armed forces or for faith groups.
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“I believe the public should have access to the staterooms.
“But we didn’t have the staff boozing week and week and [throwing] two parties in the office like appears to be going on under Boris Johnson.
The Tory MPs must act fast now and wash their hands of him as they are the only ones who are in a position to force a change.
Mr Ashworth railed: “It beggars belief, it’s disgraceful and I really think enough is enough!
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“Tory MPs have got to get rid of him because that’s how it works, they are the majority.
“It’s in their hands and Tory MPs can’t keep their heads down or run away from this.
“This is on them now!”
Asked about the party claims dating back to May 2020, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urged people to “move on” after his apology and appreciate what he’s done for the country.
Speaking to ITV News, she pleaded with Britons to “look at the overall position we’re in as a country”, as she alluded to Covid and Brexit.
She added: “I think we now need to move on and, of course, wait for the results of the Sue Gray inquiry.”
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