A senior Downing Street official has attacked the government for failing to be honest with the public over breaking lockdown rules.
In a Times article published today Nikki da Costa, who worked in Downing Street during the pandemic, called for officials to take collective responsibility for a failure to follow the same rules that were set for the rest of the country.
Nikki da Costa, Johnson’s former director of legislative affairs, said she felt “naive” when reading about the parties that occurred at No 10 throughout the pandemic and grew “frustrated reading the official responses as they became more detached from public anger.”
She also revealed that Downing Street had dismissed plans to let people who had lost loved ones set up bereavement bubbles with close relatives over concerns it would “send the wrong message to the public,” as the country exited the 2021 lockdown.
It comes as the UK awaits the publication of an inquiry by top civil servant Sue Gray into as many as 18 parties believed to have taken place in Downing Street during the pandemic.
Now that the Metropolitan Police is due to investigate events at No 10 the report will have to be watered down to miss out reference to the most egregious rule breaks. The Prime Minister also has discretion to redact the report to conceal the names of top officials who broke the rules meaning the full report may never become public.
Da Costa said she felt “angry” to hear Boris Johnson’s allies telling the public it is “important to get a sense of proportion” and dismiss parties on the grounds that “everyone was breaking the rules.” She called for a more “humane” response from leaders in government when the Gray report is published.