WINCHESTER’S MP has said he is “furious” about the handling of a drinks party at Number 10 during lockdown.

It came moments before Boris Johnson apologised for attending the “bring your own booze” gathering during England’s first lockdown.

READ MORE: PM’s position ‘untenable’ if he was at ‘bring your own booze’ party

During this time, the country was in the midst of the pandemic and the first national lockdown, with numerous stringent government rules in place.

Schools, non-essential shops, hospitality venues and businesses including beauty salons and hairdressers remained closed.

You were only permitted to meet one other person from another household outdoors, with advice to remain two metres apart.

Larger gatherings with people from other households was not allowed, with funerals, or where the gathering was essential for work purposes, being the exception.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the public “rage” over the incident but insisted he thought it could have been technically within the rules.

Mr Johnson told MPs that he attended the May 20 2020 gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff”.

Prior to the revelation, Winchester’s MP Steve Brine wrote on Twitter: “Prime Minister needs to clear this up and leave no possible doubt about what went on, and what his role was, in these Downing Street gatherings. I am furious at the handling of this. Indefensible. We are listening carefully Prime Minister.”

In a comment to the Chronicle, Mr Brine said: "The optics of this are dreadful. My constituents made huge sacrifices and followed the rules so it’s perfectly understandable they’re fuming at all of this.

"The Prime Minister has, to be fair, made an unequivocal apology but he’s now set the Sue Gray inquiry to be a make or break moment.

"Given this is a huge distraction from so many other things, such as the cost of living squeeze we’re all feeling, I would suggest the sooner we see that the better.”

Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond said: "I am very disappointed to hear the Prime Minister admit he went to an event with drinks in the garden at Downing Street during the first lockdown.

"I share the concerns of the public about this when so many kept to the rules and made sacrifices to do so.

"I will now wait to see the findings of the investigation into what happened before I comment further."

SEE ALSO: Winchester business owners hit out as more support is needed

In an email to her constituents, Tory MP for Romsey and Southampton North Caroline Nokes said: “I am very conscious I have spent the last 22 months exhorting my constituents to abide by the restrictions placed upon them. By and large they have done the right thing.

“They have been unable to comfort grieving widows at funerals. They have postponed or cancelled significant life events, birthdays, ceremonies, weddings.

“I have no words that can adequately express how angry I am at the ‘Don’t do as I do, do as I say’ attitude that appears to have prevailed in Downing Street.

“I will not try to explain or excuse, but I will certainly apologise to you for the conduct that has come to light.”

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Johnson said he “believed implicitly that this was a work event".

But “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them, and I should have recognised that – even if it could have been said technically to fall within the guidance – there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged that included “people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside” adding: “To them and to this House, I offer my heartfelt apologies.”

He said that senior official Sue Gray should be allowed to complete her inquiry into a series of alleged parties held during lockdown in No 10 and Whitehall “so that the full facts can be established”.

The Prime Minister acknowledged public anger: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.

“Though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.”

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