Torridge asked to condemn 'appalling' Downing Street parties

North Devon Gazette

Torridge District Council (TDC) is being implored to take a stand against the ‘appalling’ behaviour of senior government members following revelations of parties held during the pandemic.Â

Addressing a full council meeting, local resident Teresa Tinsley, who runs a language consultancy business, said: “During the various lockdowns over the last two years, Torridge residents made huge sacrifices in order to limit the spread of covid and protect the vulnerable and the NHS. Â

“Businesses had to close or severely limit the trade they do. Those that did not – like at least two pubs in Bideford – were given strict fines.Â

“Now we find that the very people who asked us to make those sacrifices and imposing those on us were consistently and brazenly breaking their own rules.Â

“It seems that there was a culture of partying and socialising which our leaders did nothing to halt – and, rather, joined in. This is double standards, hypocrisy as if the laws are for us, the ‘little people’, not for big dogs of government.”Â

Ms Tinsley said the prime minister’s earlier argument that he thought he was instead attending a work event at one of the parties ‘is about as believable as going to Barnard Castle to check your eyesight’.Â

“Tens of thousands of people here in Torridge put ourselves out to comply for the good of the community,” she continued.Â

“When we find that our leaders have been flagrant breakers of their own laws, we are naturally angry. How can we trust our government if they allow this to happen?”Â

She added: “I appeal to you to take a stand against the appalling dereliction of those standards that we currently see at the top of government. Â

“Please do something; make a statement, write a letter – above all distance Torridge District Council from the calamitous leadership which is bringing shame on our country and on our democracy.”Â

Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin (Great Torrington), leader of the Liberal Democrats at Torridge District Council, said she had tried to get the council to vote on a motion criticising the alleged lockdown parties.Â

She said: “I feel so strongly about the recent revelations of the parties in Number 10 and really wanted to emphasis the concern and anger of local people who have been following covid regulations and lockdowns over the last two years while our prime minister and his colleagues have effectively been laughing at us.”Â

Torridge District Council were contacted to see if they planned on responding to the Downing Street parties, but did not respond by the time of publication. Â

Mr Johnson has apologised to the House of Commons for the parties, saying: “I get it and I will fix it.”Â

In a summary report into the alleged parties released on Monday, January 31, Sue Gray, the civil servant investigating the events, said some of the behaviour at the gatherings was ‘difficult to justify’.Â

She concluded that some of the events represented a ‘serious failure to observe’ standards for government and those expected of the public at the time.Â

The Metropolitan Police is investigating 12 of the 16 events that occurred over 2020 and 2021.Â

Scotland Yard said it was necessary to limit the publication of Ms Gray’s report in order to prevent it from interfering with their investigations.

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