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Kate Garraway says alleged Downing Street party ‘heartbreaking and ridiculous’

·3-min read

Kate Garraway labelled the alleged Downing Street Christmas party “heartbreaking and ridiculous” as she reflected on the situation at the time, recalling the “scrutiny that we went through to try and make things work”.

The 54-year-old TV host spoke in the documentary Finding Derek earlier this year about the struggles her family faced as her husband, Derek Draper, spent a year in hospital gravely ill after contracting coronavirus.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, she said: “I just don’t want to throw stones, basically, because the obvious thing to say is it’s heartbreaking and ridiculous and I can’t believe it because I don’t think they’re a group of evil people.

“But there is definitely something very, very uncomfortable about… maybe they just didn’t know the devastation… the rules were affecting all of us.”

Co-presenter Susanna Reid said: “I don’t think anyone is describing malign intent here.

“But Adam Wagner, who is a barrister – we regularly talk to Adam on the programme – has been, as you suggest, crunching the legals over this.”

She continued, quoting from a document: “During that period, there were only two legal ways to have an indoor gathering of more than 30 people.

“There were permitted, organised gatherings – but that would mean guests weren’t allowed to mingle with anyone not in their household. That doesn’t seem to apply.

“And the only other legal route was if the gathering was ‘reasonably necessary for work’. It seems doubtful any kind of party held for more than 30 people indoors where Covid was more likely to spread would be reasonably necessary for work.”

Garraway added: “Because I just remember the scrutiny that we went through to try and make things work.

“And you know, Susanna, because I talked to you a lot about it, about even simple things like ‘Can I leave them on their own? Am I allowed to have people in to look after the children?’

“It was just very complicated. But I think if I was doing that, I know every household in the land was doing that – ‘Am I within the rules?’. And it’s just depressing…”

Reid finished: “How people at Downing Street weren’t doing the same thing…. ‘Are we doing this within the rules? We have set the rules’.”

Boris Johnson has agreed to an internal investigation into allegations of a Covid-rule-breaking Christmas party in Downing Street in the face of mounting anger.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted the rules were followed that night but apologised over the impression made by leaked footage of No 10 staff joking about coronavirus restrictions.

During a press conference on Wednesday, a tightening of rules was announced, including the return of work-from-home guidance, Covid health certificates becoming mandatory in large venues, and mask rules being extended to combat the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant in England.

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