Number 10 pushes cabinet behind Johnson as PM faces calls to leave drinks party

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A cabinet minister said the coronavirus lockdown rules were “too tough for the people” as allies rallied Boris Johnson during his appearance at the No. 10 drinks event, while social gatherings were banned.

The prime minister apologized for attending a “bring your own wine” party in Downing Street Garden in May 2020 during the first coronavirus lockdown, but insisted he believed it was a work event And “technically” could have been within the rules.

Members of the government urged critics of the prime minister to wait for the findings of an official investigation into alleged lockdown-busting parties before passing a decision after Tory lawmakers publicly called for him to quit.

The prime minister on Thursday pulled out of a planned visit to a vaccination center in Lancashire, where he had to face media questions about his actions, after a family member tested positive for the coronavirus.

The situation would keep him out of the public eye, with Downing Street saying he would follow advice to limit contacts “including until Tuesday of next week” despite not self-isolating because he has been vaccinated.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating a series of parties and celebrations held at Number 10 and Whitehall in 2020 while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The prime minister came here yesterday and apologized. He said that, in retrospect, what he should have been or what he wanted to be was not.

“It is being investigated by Sue Grey, a civil servant of the highest integrity and of the greatest reputation.

“But I think everyone on all sides of the House understood that the people were following the rules, and it was very difficult for the people to follow these rules.”

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the lockdown rules were hard to follow (Aaron Chown/PA) , PA Wire

I have suggested that a comprehensive investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic should investigate “whether all those rules were proportionate, or was it too hard for people”, as people visit their loved ones or attend funerals. Couldn’t happen.

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