Author Michael Rosen has said that an alleged rule-breaking drink party in Downing Street during the first national lockdown, when he was in a coma with Covid, is “a smack in the face”.
The former Children’s Award winner, who still suffers from the effects of the disease including memory loss and aches and pains, said the incident showed “contempt” for others and that party attendees should come forward.
It is alleged that a senior aide of Boris Johnson organized a “bring your own wine” event in the garden behind Number 10 on 20 May 2020 and that a growing number of Tories attacked the prime minister amid new claims.
The allegations are being investigated by senior officer Sue Gray as part of an investigation into claims by lockdown-busting parties in Whitehall and Downing Street.
Everyone was trying their best to follow the instructions of the government. So it feels like a smack in the face. it sounds like contemptMichael Rosen
Rosen, who said he struggled to see with one eye and hear with one ear, told BBC News: “My first thought is the stories my wife and family told me, that they contacted me at home. were trying to keep up, contact me, because they couldn’t come in and see me, and of course, I could have died.
“We have heard horrific stories all day long of people who said goodbye to their loved ones on Zoom calls and phone calls from home.
“And the only way for Emma (Roseanne’s wife) to keep in touch with me was to talk to the nurses and doctors.
“Everyone was trying their best to follow the instructions of the government. So it feels like a smack in the face. This sounds like contempt. It sounds terrible.”
Asked if there should be a police investigation, Rosen said: “It’s a difficult situation, isn’t it? Because obviously, everyone at the party knew they were there.
“Police guard the entrance to 10 Downing Street, no one can walk in. So they have general lists of parties, they have a list of who is allowed and who is not, hence a piece of paper, and they have names on it that the police know.
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“They would have known that there was a very good chance that this was a gathering of more than one, two or three people, whatever the exact number allowed with that moment.
“So it’s all a little bit mysterious, and how are we 18 months from there and suddenly discovering it? I mean, really can’t believe it.”
He continued: “Angela Renner said ‘Does Boris Johnson know he was at the party or not?’
“I mean, he may not have known about it when he left that wine was offered, but the people who went to that party knew.
“He should come to the House of Commons and say, ‘Yes, Governor, this is a fair cop, I was in the party’.
“It would be appropriate to do so, but it is not happening.
“So kicking in the kind of tall grass that we’re all familiar with asking questions, while people finish their albums, it really won’t happen at all.
“It is not to believe, it is a feeling of contempt. On this occasion it is contempt of the House of Commons. People ask questions, and then they bat.”
Rosen said the country was still dealing with “social trauma” as a result of the pandemic, adding: “It’s kind of the opposite of dealing with it.
“Instead of the equivalent of a wreath at the Cenotaph, what we’re getting is, ‘Oh, we were partying while you were doing this’.
“It’s a terrifying feeling, just thinking about it. We are trying to deal with anything that has hurt us.”