Lewes and Polegate MP Maria Caulfield comments on the furore over parties at 10 Downing Street

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has joined a number of local MPs in sharing her views on the controversy over Down Streeting partying during lockdown.

MP Maria Caulfield
MP Maria Caulfield

In a statement on her website today she writes today (17 January): "Over the weekend I have been talking with many constituents to gauge the strength of feeling on this issue.

Can I start by saying that I fully appreciate the depth of anger on this issue as I know many people lost loved ones, were separated from family members, and gave up so much during these times.

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As you know I returned to the front line of the NHS during the pandemic and worked on the Covid wards on some of the toughest shifts in over twenty years of nursing. Looking after very poorly patients who were not allowed visitors and with staff who literally put their lives on the line to look after others. There were no vaccines or treatments then and we worked for hours in full PPE to protect ourselves and try not to bring the virus home to our families. There were no after work drinks for us.

I saw my constituents; the bus drivers, the shop workers, the delivery drivers, and the rail workers having to carry on and put themselves at risk serving the public so that others could work safely from home. There were no work drinks in the supermarket car parks or in the bus or rail depots after a hard shift.

I can confirm that I was not invited, nor attended any events in No 10 during lockdown and I am very angry at the reports of multiple events that happened.

While part of No 10 is the residence of the Prime Minister much of the building is a working environment where hundreds of officials and civil servants are based. MPs and ministers do not have a pass for No 10 and are based in The House of Commons and/or their relevant departments and so were not involved in these events.

I spoke out publicly when Dominic Cummings broke the rules during lockdown and called for his resignation and so I will be calling for action against anyone who has been found to have broken the rules. It is clear that there was a culture inside Number 10 where even if rules were not technically broken, the spirit of the rules were, and this is completely unacceptable.

It is important to know the full extent and scale of the problem and exactly who was present. We expect to receive the response to the report later this week when I will consider what action is needed going forward."

Ms Caulfield is one of a number of local MPs who have now shared their views.At the weekend Tim Loughton, East Worthing and Shoreham, wrote on his Facebook page that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson should resign.