Several people died with coronavirus in Blackpool on the day of an alleged Downing Street Christmas party, figures reveal.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered an investigation into claims staff broke lockdown rules by holding a party at Number 10 last year, and told MPs he was “furious” about footage apparently showing aides joking about it.
Figures from the UK coronavirus daily dashboard show five deaths occurred in Blackpool on that date last year.
Boris Johnson is facing calls to resign over the scandal
There were also 36 positive Covid-19 cases recorded in the area that same day.
In Fylde there were two deaths and 26 positive cases while eight people died in Wyre and there were 155 positive cases.
The Prime Minister’s intervention followed a week of official insistence that no party took place when London was under Tier 3 restrictions – despite reports staff drank alcohol and exchanged Secret Santa gifts.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister’s apology raises more questions than answers as he had been “caught red-handed”.
He added: “Millions of people now think the Prime Minister was taking them for fools, that they were lied to. They are right aren’t they?”
Mr Johnson’s adviser and former press secretary Allegra Stratton emotionally resigned after leaked footage showed her laughing as she appeared to rehearse answers to questions over a lockdown-busting Christmas party.
The video from No 10’s £2.6 million press briefing room, which is reported to be from December 22 last year, refers to a party on “Friday” – the same day The Daily Mirror reported there was a staff party where games were played, food and drinks were served, and revelries went on past midnight.
At this time, coronavirus restrictions were being reintroduced across many parts of the UK ahead of Christmas amid fears over the emergence of the ‘Delta’ variant.
Mr Johnson agreed that any evidence uncovered about parties in Downing Street would be handed over to police.
Statistics published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council reveal a total of 314 fixed penalty notices were issued by Lancashire Police for breaches of Covid-19-related laws between November 17 and December 20 last year.
And by December 22 – the day the leaked video was apparently filmed – separate figures from the Department of Health and Social Care reveal that more than a quarter of care homes in England were no longer permitting residents to receive visitors as Covid-19 infection levels rose across the country.
In Blackpool, 10 care homes had done the same by December 22 – around 29% of all those in the area.