A DORSET MP has responded to the Number 10 garden drinks controversy, saying the government did not practice “the exemplary behaviour we would expect”.

It is understood around 100 people were invited to a “bring-your-own-booze” drinks party in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown.

Witnesses say the prime minister was among about 30 people at the gathering on May 20, 2020.

At the time, government rules stated you could only meet one other person from another household outdoors, with advice to remain 2m (6ft) apart. Larger gatherings with people from other households were not allowed, apart from a few exceptions, such as funerals, or where the gathering was essential for work purposes.

Schools, non-essential shops, hospitality venues and hairdressers remained closed.

MP for Bournemouth East Tobias Ellwood has since given his response to the alleged party, describing public anger as “understandable”.

He told the Echo: “From reading the press coverage it is clearly not the exemplary behaviour we would expect to see. And it has triggered a lot of understandable anger given the hardship the nation was experiencing at the time.

“I understand this event is now being included in Sue Grey’s investigation which is the correct process to assess who was involved and what should happen next.”

The Daily Echo has approached each of our MPs for their reaction to the incident.

During a debate on an urgent question in the House of Commons, Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope asked the House: “Why can’t all the dirty linen be washed at once? Why are we getting this drip-drip feed of parties? Surely the civil service must have known that there was a party on May 20 and they should have referred that already to the inquiry.”

Responding, Cabinet Officer minister Michael Ellis said Sir Christopher made a “good point”.

He said: “The reality is of course that we have a number of dates that have come out at different times and that will presumably have an effect of delaying matters.”

“But we have commissioned the terms of reference of the investigation that I think I came before this house in December to tell the house about and that has laid in the libraries of both houses, that any dates that the second permanent secretary feels are appropriate to investigate, she will, and I have confirmed to this house that May 15 and 20 of 2020 are now amongst those dates.”

Meanwhile, New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne said: “All this should be a powerful corrective to the urge to order the rest of our lives, shouldn’t it?”

Responding, Mr Ellis said: “Each of us in this House, and no doubt everywhere else, live our lives in the best way that we can.

“Those of us in positions of responsibility acknowledge that responsibility. That is why there is an investigation in progress which will get to the bottom of all of these matters.”