Only staff who were already working together in Downing Street offices were invited to a party during lockdown, Lichfield’s MP has said.

Michael Fabricant made his comments after a leaked email to ITV News revealed that as many as 100 people were invited to the gathering in the garden in May 2020.

Around 30 people are said to have attended, with witnesses claiming Boris Johnson and his wife were among them.

But the original invite was sent when lockdown rules were still in place restricting people from meeting others.

The gathering is now being looked at as part of an investigation led by senior civil servant Sue Gray, while the Metropolitan Police is also speaking with the Government about the reports.

Lichfield’s Conservative MP Michael Fabricant told his social media followers that the facts should be considered.

Michael Fabricant
Michael Fabricant

“Was the Downing Street party a ‘flagrant breach of the rules’ as Labour are happily claiming?

“Sue Gray will decide, but the facts are that there are 80 or 90 offices in the Downing Street complex with key workers who were all operating closely together indoors.

“Only they were invited to relax in the open air – an enclosed garden – and would not have increased the risk of contagion. No outside guests were invited at all.

“These people had worked incredibly hard on all our behalves on the vaccine programme.”

Michael Fabricant MP

But many Twitter uses criticised the MP for trying to “defend the indefensible”.

Another posted:

“Imagine shopworkers having a party after work, or postal workers, carers, doctors and nurses, or teachers all having a few cans in the playground – it wouldn’t have been allowed would it?

“This MP is confirming it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”

Twitter user

Former England rugby international Brian Moore also criticised Mr Fabricant’s comments. He said:

“If these are the facts, they still do not amount to a defence under the laws that were in place at the time and under which ‘little people’ were fined.”

Brian Moore

Join the Conversation


Our volunteers moderated 1544 comments in the last 30 days. Say thanks with a coffee.

  1. We couldn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral in 2020 which took place a few weeks before this No.10 party. The reason was we agreed to follow the rules set by a Government that seems to think those same rules do not apply to them. It is simply unforgivable to try and defend this.

    Enough is enough. This is making fun of our continued pain and that suffered by tens of thousands of other people in the UK.

  2. On 10 May 2020 the pm addressed the nation as he started the ‘stay alert’ campaign.
    We still had to work from home if possible and not use public transport if possible.
    He said this about ‘gatherings’…
    ‘You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household’.

    That’s household, not workplace mr F.

    So clearly, this party was a breach.

    In the same speech he said ‘ You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them’.

    It’s so insulting to millions of us who did the right thing & many who couldn’t attend funerals or see loved ones for a final time.

    Stop fabricating the truth.

  3. The man wants sacking, remember the police arrested to women for walking together with cups of coffee outdoors. Although a Tory this disrespectful government needs to go

  4. This is what Martin Reynolds wrote, “Hi all, After what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

    Even Lord Geidt would have to conclude that this was an invitation to a party, not a work invitation.

  5. If those are your opinions Mr. Fabricant then they do not match those of your constituents and probably the vast majority of most others in this country.
    Should you not do the honourable thing and stand down in view of the seriousness of this issue?

  6. Even the diehard supporters of this party and their politicians must be wondering what they are playing at, surely?

    This Government and these MPs, especially our own MP, are literally laughing at us all. That includes their own voters who have respected the pandemic rules without question.

    What are the views of some of our local elected Conservatives on this? Or even those who continue to vote for this MP? Do you still think he does a good job for his constituency? If so, how and why?

  7. This man sees everything – even this – from a Tory/Good, Labour/Bad perspective. He needs to grow up, open his eyes and realise it’s not just other Party supporters who are furious about this.

  8. Well, I’ve heard some pathetic defences of the indefensible, but this just about takes the biscuit!
    Gatherings like this were AGAINST THE LAW at the time. Thousands of people were mourning the death of family or friends. Millions more were refraining from seeing their loved ones. Obviously this didn’t extend to No 10.
    Fabricant’s intervention is no doubt a further move in his quest for a knighthood. Shall we next hear that he is being interviewed on GBNews to defend the PM?
    Surely even dedicated Conservative voters in Lichfield will find it hard to vote for him at the next election!

  9. Michael Are you suffering” memory loss” now? No matter how you dress this incident up it was illegal. As a well known former tennis player said ” You cannot be serious!!”

  10. Utter and complete rubbish.

    The rest of us were not mixing, not seeing relatives, not attending funerals, attending funerals with no wakes, standing out in the freezing cold at funerals as we could not gather inside, not seeing new born babies. This list could go on too many more situations.

    That number of people should not have even been mixing in their offices, so no excuse lies with same people mixing outdoors. They should have been working from home etc and minimising contact, and you know, following the law.

    Utterly disgraceful behaviour by the Prime Minister, his office, and poor show that it has any level of support from our elected MP.

  11. I was disgusted to witness the grovelling and the ridiculous statements made by your MP this morning, even when the interviewer was pointing out his dilemma he still continued.
    I would love to hear the replies from his constituents and local venues shut down and liable to fines for breaking the rules

  12. what a shameless charlatan we have as an MP. let’s make sure he is reminded of this at the next election. disgusting to think of all those families, the NHS who were struggling whilst they partied

  13. Mr Fabricant’s explanation does have sound logic and considered in isolation of all other factors I really think it sounds reasonable. But it was very obviously a planned mass social gathering of government staff during a period when the government had told us we could not have social gatherings. It’s inexcusable and unjustifiable.

  14. Isn’t it wonderful to have an MP who looks at things objectively. Unfortunately not the member for Lichfield.

  15. MLsays:
    11th January, 2022 at 12:21 pm
    Fabricant has been defending Boris on the BBC. Lichfield voters need to get rid of him.

    We keep trying, but too many people sleep walk into the polling booths and vote for who they have always voted for and that’s why he keeps getting re-elected. Perhaps these voter’s standards are the same as Boris Johnson’s and the rest of the Tory party?
    Michael Fabricant doesn’t have one ounce of integrity or honesty in his body. What a shameful way of behaving and defending the behaviour of others.

  16. Michael Fabricant why can’t you keep your mouth shut, and fingers away from your twitter account….you really do look so foolish, trying to defend the indefensible.
    I hope this gets rid of serial liar Boris, as quickly as possible. and we your constituents will not forget at the next election. Ashamed to say we were gullible Tory voters, but no again.

  17. I guess there isn’t even a full handful of useful idiots prepared to defend the indefensible today hence our mp is all over the BBC & LBC.
    He’s got no shame, no moral scruples and no integrity hence he’s there bleating on regardless into the ether.
    God forbid he actually cared about human beings who’ve been through hell, who’ve given up seeing loved ones sometimes forever, who’ve sacrificed their own & their families’ mental and physical health by working in health, education, deliveries, police…etc etc.
    Just go mr F and take the chief clown with you.

  18. It is heartening to see the large majority of fellow Lichfield voters here share my abhorrence of Fabricant’s, frankly absurd, TV interview. He seems, as already noted above, to be after a knighthood. But in exacerbating the ‘one rule for us’ debate, he has brilliantly failed miserably to exonerate the PM in any way while simultaneously disgusting most of his constituents. Such failure merits a departure from public life, after a suitable apology. I won’t hold my breath while waiting for the apology

  19. Mr Fabricant do the decent thing now and resign, you are not supporting your constituents you are not representing our views enough is enough

  20. C George you all are you keep voting for him. He is a complete idiot, overpaid and up the backside of Boris his paymaster

  21. People couldn’t attend funerals or visit relatives or even go for walk without the police hassling them. But the government could have party for 100 people. Must be a big garden for all of them to social distance. So why should normal folk follow the rules. The government don’t seem to worried about covid.

  22. Fabricant was on the wrong side of the debate on the Owen Paterson cover-up affair for which the Government eventually apologised as a mistake and here he goes again! Is he expecting an ‘arise Sir Michael’ or is he just a publicity seeking fool? Unfortunately he is our MP.

  23. Michael Fabricant’s comments demonstrate his complacency. The fact is that in Mr Fabricant’s case he has been an MP for far too long. It is time that Lichfield and Burntwood had a serious member of parliament.

  24. I wrote to Mr F after the video of Allegra Stratton giggling about the cheese and wine gathering. I expressed my upset because at that time my mother n law was in hospital, no family could visit, she was there for 7 weeks and passed away with none of us able to visit. Her husband of 70 yes SEVENTY years was robbed of visiting her and they have bring your own booze parties! The funeral had 6 of us, everyone else watching online, crime scene type tape kept us apart, no hymns and the flowers came off the coffin, straight into the bin.
    Today that upset and hurt has turned to downright anger.
    Fabricant YOU HAVE LOST THE VOTES OF ALL THIS FAMILY – we will not forget you defending this

    Oh and BTW that vaccine program they were working so hard on didn’t exist at that point, that was 6 months in the future!

  25. I find it bewildering that some people who are now complaining about Michael Fabricant were presumably happy for him to;
    -vote to allow private companies to dump sewage in rivers
    -vote against the Universal Credit uplift for low earners
    -vote to allow MPs to devote their time to second jobs
    -vote to increase tax for the lowest earners
    -vote against funding to keep free school meals for disadvantaged children.

    That’s just part of his voting record in 2021; consistently voting to make lives more difficult for people already at the bottom of society, stamping them into the ground, and yet people are all of a sudden complaining about something he’s said? In your opinion has he suddenly become an incompassionate gadabout since he appeared on the television and radio this morning?

  26. I saw the television interview and Fabricant was about as convincing as his toupe. He offered a shameful defence of an indefensible situation. Has he and his government no shame?
    If he and Johnson are the best this country has to offer in its governance, then we really are in a mess. The next crisis is going to be the cost of living. Help !

  27. Reply to Margaret King.
    Fabricant’s voting was shameful in 2021……but he was voted in as Lichfield’s M.P. in 2019 !!
    We wouldn’t have voted for him if we had known his intentions.

  28. That was the most pathetic defence of the indefensible I have ever seen and he represents me (for now) in Parliament. He should be ashamed.

  29. @LJE
    June 2014 – threatens to punch a female journalist in the throat
    October 2017 – says it cannot be sexual abuse if both parties are sloshed
    May 2018 – insults a female constituent for asking him a question
    July 2018 – shares racist images on Twitter
    Just a quick potted history (there are many more examples) of the man Lichfield voted in in 2019, and a few times before. Don’t pretend not to have known the man he was back then.

  30. It is such a shame that people are only now discovering the real Fabricant. The man has been gaslighting Lichfield for many years, but he seems to have got worse as time goes on, particularly after Brexit. If you want to get the full on experience check out his Twitter feed where you can plumb the murky depths of his opinions, trolling and vanity. Let’s hope that the electorate in Lichfield now understands who is representing them and votes him out at the earliest opportunity.

  31. Chris
    Thankfully… We are not on twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc., we do not have a daily newspaper. Pick and choose Sky and BBC news app. Do not assume everyone knows everything about Fabricant’s vile comments. I have since found out after seeing some reading posts on Lichfield Live this year. I take offence at your accusations that I must know.

  32. Well, it turns out that ML and I agree on something.

    Thank you, Mr Fabricant, for building a sense of unity in your constituency by bringing together constituents who may disagree on some important issues, but are newly united in their contempt for you.

  33. I couldn’t agree more with all the comments I have just read about our pathetic, useless so called MP for Lichfield. All the people of Lichfield, please please just think about we’re to put that X on the next general election ballot paper when it comes around.

  34. LJE ‐ I take offence to you blindly voting for someone without educating yourself to who they are. Democracy only works with an informed electorate. The country is in such a mess because so many are wilfully ignorant. Just like all the faux hang wringing by those claiming to have been let down by the serial liar Boris Johnson who has simply continued to behave as he always has his entire life.

  35. Funny how Johnson couldn’t make time to attend the Covid COBRA meetings in Number 10 but kept accidently stumbling into drinks parties.

  36. To me, the point is not that Johnson attended the party, but that he has consistently and deliberately misled Parliament in his statements that there were no parties, that he didn’t know about them, and that no rules were broken.
    That is the offence for which he should offer his resignation to Her Majesty.

    ‘I have been repeatedly assured that there were no parties, and that no covid rules were broken. That was what I have been repeatedly assured’
    The PM to the House of Commons on December 8, 2021.

    I quote paragraph 1.3.c of the Ministerial Code:
    It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister;

  37. Haha. Imagine if Labour HQ had some “socially distanced drinks” for staff working hard during the same period, Fabricant would have died from a rage-induced heart attack!
    Such a desperate defence of his boss by Fabricant, it’s embarrassingly pathetic.

  38. In LJE’s defence, I admit I never knew just how awful our MP was until the Brexit referendum debates and the lies about the EU and about what would happen if we left. I guess I hadn’t been paying enough attention before then either. I have never voted Tory, but I don’t think they’re all bad, although a lot of the decent ones have now been forced out, so it’s heading that way.

  39. It would be instructive if interviewers asked some pertinent questions.
    1… Was Johnson sent the invitation to the ‘meeting’?
    2… When did he find out it was taking place?
    3… Did his wife attend this ‘work meeting’?
    4… Did any of the one hundred invited question its legality? (Apparently only 30 attended.)
    5… How many other garden meetings (with food and drinks) took place prior to or after this event?
    6… Was anyone sanctioned for it taking place?
    7… If he was not invited how did he find out?
    There is of course much more.
    This is not a trivial situation. I suspect Johnson is a bully as most narcissists are. He has, and will continue to make scapegoats to protect himself. I would not support a person from whatever party who tells lies. Why have these revolutions taken so long to surface? It shows misplaced loyalty from those who are answerable to him. Including Michael Fabricant!

  40. I am a retired nurse. In 2020 I went back to nursing as requested by this government and worked in Infection Control. We were working out of an office in Staffordshire, but at no time did we have any social events and when we did meet in the office it was wearing full PPE. Those were the rules put in place to save lives before we even had vaccines. Number 10s actions are completely indefensible.

  41. Our marvellous MP taking opportunity to appear on tonight’s “Newsnight” making himself look ridiculous as usual. He fully supports Boris Johnson in his indefensible actions. How long will we have to endure these 2 buffoons who have no respect for people in the real world?
    Boris is credited by some for Brexit success. What a joke! He’s also credited for leading us through pandemic when he was so late to take action unnecessary lives were lost. Frequently he failed to follow advice on precautions himself. No surprise these latest allegations and lies.

Leave a comment
Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy before posting.

Your email address will not be published.