MP breaks down in Commons as he delivers tearful question over Downing Street lockdown party

An MP was overcome with emotion when speaking about the death of his mother-in-law in the House of Commons during an urgent question about an alleged lockdown-breaking party in the Number 10 garden in May 2020.

In an emotional contribution in the Commons, DUP MP Jim Shannon said: "In Northern Ireland we reached the milestone of 3,000 deaths due to Covid just last week. Including my mother-in-law, who died alone."

The MP for Strangford struggled to go on with his question before sitting back down.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis said: "I’m very sorry for his loss. He’s asking me if the results of the investigation will be made public, and they will be."

This comes amid a leaked email showing that Boris Johnson was among 100 members of staff invited to a rule-breaking "bring your own booze" Downing Street party during the height of coronavirus restrictions on May 20, 2020.

The email, sent by the civil servant who runs the Prime Minister’s private office, was leaked to reporters on Monday, placing Mr Johnson under renewed pressure.

The email from Martin Reynolds inviting Downing Street staff to a drinks party in the Number 10 garden during the height of nationwide lockdown to 'make the most of the lovely weather'

The email, sent by Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, invited staff to attend a "socially distanced drinks" reception to "make the most of the lovely weather".

On Tuesday several MPs also raised cases of constituents who suffered losses during the pandemic and were unable to attend funerals, with Mr Ellis "apologising unreservedly" for the upset caused by the allegations.

The paymaster general was dispatched to face an urgent question about the allegation in the Commons, allowing Mr Johnson to avoid scrutiny for now.

Asked what the Prime Minister was doing rather than responding himself, the PM’s spokesman said: "I don’t have the full diary in front of me at the moment but it’s not uncommon, obviously, for Government ministers to answer these sorts of questions."

The numerous allegations of lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall are being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

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