Man who was fined £100 for having friends in his garden during lockdown demands his money back


A man who was fined £100 for having friends in his garden during lockdown and a university graduate fined for hosting a gathering are among those calling for their money back amid fury at the No 10 party.

Kieron McArdle, from Coleshill, Warwickshire, said the Downing Street booze-up had ‘infuriated’ him and slammed it as ‘one rule for them, one rule for the rest of us’.

The 50-year-old said all those fined should have their cash returned or donated to charity.

University graduate Callum Harrison, 23, and his housemates were slapped with £100 fines after hosting a 10-person social event to celebrate a friend’s birthday in October 2020.

Mr Harrison, who lives in Ancoats but was a student in Newcastle at the time, paid the fine and admits breaking the rules, but is now calling for the government to refund him – and anyone else who was fined during lockdown. 

It comes as footage emerged of police breaking up an illegal party at the exact time of the No 10 bash.

Officers dispersed the crowd in Birmingham at 7.45pm on May 20, 2020, 120 miles away from the Government’s notorious ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ knees-up.

Boris Johnson today apologised for attending the gathering in the garden of Downing Street during the first lockdown.

The PM acknowledged the public ‘rage’ over the incident but insisted he thought it could have been technically within the rules. 

Kieron McArdle (pictiured), from Coleshill, Warwickshire, said the Downing Street booze-up had ‘infuriated’ him and slammed it as ‘one rule for them, one rule for the rest of us’

Police managed to persuade the party-goers to return to their homes and gardens and assured the crowd coronavirus 'is real'

Police managed to persuade the party-goers to return to their homes and gardens and assured the crowd coronavirus ‘is real’

But Mr McArdle doubled down, telling the Mirror: ‘There is no argument that I broke the rules but after seeing more and more stuff coming out it has infuriated me.

‘These people should be held to account and I firmly believe anyone who was find should be offered a refund or the money donated to charity.

‘It seems so unfair that it was one rule for them and another for us.’

Mr McArdle, a company director for a cleaning and property maintenance firm, had friends over in his garden from 2pm on March 19, 2021, to celebrate his birthday.

They did not go in his house – even to use the toilet – but police were on the scene within an hour.

Mr McArdle said he had spent the second lockdown on his own and was suffering with his mental health.

He was fined £100 and paid in full but is now furious about the Downing Street bash nearly a year earlier.

The 50-year-old said all those fined should have their cash returned or donated to charity

The 50-year-old said all those fined should have their cash returned or donated to charity

Mr Harrison said he and his seven other housemates, plus two extra friends, had been out to a numbers of bars earlier on the evening of October 30, before returning to the house in the Jesmond area of Newcastle.

At the time, a tier system was in place across the country, with the North East in Tier 2. It meant household mixing was banned indoors unless people were in a support bubble.

Despite admitting to breaking the rules himself, Mr Harrison said he should get a refund after revelations about the Downing Street party.

He told the Manchester Evening News: ‘They have done what they told us not to do the whole time.

‘You hear some of the stories of people not being able to see their families when they were ill, or attend funerals. Everyone’s lives were affected and the people producing these restrictions were not following the rules themselves.’ 

Meanwhile police at the Birmingham party on the same day as the No 10 bash could be heard yelling: ‘Who’s in charge?’

Bodycam footage from the ‘social gathering’ in a cul-de-sac in Handsworth shows one officer ask attendees: ‘Good evening people, how we doing?

‘Who’s in charge? Anyone in charge? No one’s in charge!’

A woman claims the party is ‘not a social gathering at all’ despite officers seeing dozens of people enjoying music, eating a barbecue and chatting together.

Police managed to persuade the party-goers to return to their homes and gardens and assured the crowd coronavirus ‘is real’.

He tells the cheering crowd: ‘Covid-19 is real, yes. The reason we are here is to provide safety for people.

‘We need to disperse this group and for people to go about your business. This gathering needs to stop. All the best, enjoy the sun elsewhere.’

After several minutes the party-goers leave the area with no fines being imposed by officers and no arrests.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Wes Streeting tweeted the footage, drawing reference to the Downing Street party.

He said: ‘We don’t have to imagine what would have happened if anyone else had organised a party of 100 people on the same day as the Downing Street BYOB party.

‘Here’s what happened in Handsworth. It’s one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.’

It comes as footage emerged of police breaking up an illegal party at the exact time of No 10 bash

It comes as footage emerged of police breaking up an illegal party at the exact time of No 10 bash

Officers dispersed the crowd in Birmingham at 7.45pm on May 20, 2020, 120 miles away from the Government's notorious 'Bring Your Own Booze' knees-up

Officers dispersed the crowd in Birmingham at 7.45pm on May 20, 2020, 120 miles away from the Government’s notorious ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ knees-up

Mr Johnson today told MPs he attended the May 20, 2020, gathering for around 25 minutes to ‘thank groups of staff’.

In his apology in the Commons today, Mr Johnson said: ‘I believed implicitly that this was a work event.’

But ‘with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them, and I should have recognised that – even if it could have been said technically to fall within the guidance – there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way’.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that included ‘people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside’, adding: ‘To them and to this House, I offer my heartfelt apologies.’

He said senior official Sue Gray should be allowed to complete her inquiry into a series of alleged parties held during lockdown in No 10 and Whitehall ‘so that the full facts can be established’.

In a brutal attack in the House, Sir Keir told Mr Johnson: ‘The party is over, Prime Minister.’

The Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 staff to bring their own drinks to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20, 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’, an email leaked to ITV News shows

The Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 staff to bring their own drinks to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20, 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’, an email leaked to ITV News shows 

England’s lockdown rules on May 20, 2020 

Much of Britain was paralysed in a state of fear over coronavirus on May 20, 2020, with the country only two months into the first national lockdown. About ten days earlier the Government had launched a ‘Stay alert, control the virus, save lives’ campaign, and the first vaccines would not be given for another seven months.

Indoor socialising with other households was strictly banned and only two people were allowed to meet outside in a public space such as a park while at least 6ft (2m) apart. There was an exemption on gatherings where ‘essential for work purposes’ – but guidance said workers should try to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace’. 

No10 has relied on the get-outs for work when responding to other claims about parties. Britons were regularly washing their hands to stay safe and many mourners had to watch funerals from home on live-streams, with official guidance saying the only people allowed to attend were ‘members of the deceased person’s household and close family members’.

Some mothers were giving birth without partners, shoppers were queuing outside supermarkets which limited numbers of shoppers and others had vital medical appointments put back as hospitals struggled to cope with Covid-19 patients.

As for working from home, Boris Johnson said on May 10, 2020 that people should ‘work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home’ and also advised them to avoid public transport to maintain social distancing.

On May 20, 2020, there were 2,700 daily positive cases while the seven-day average stood at 2,328 – a number that was falling after hitting an average of 4,774 one month earlier. There were also 268 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on May 20, 2020, with a seven-day average of 255. This was also down, from a peak of 976 on April 10. As for the global picture, experts at Johns Hopkins University said at least 323,286 people were known to have died from Covid-19 while at least 4,897,567 had been infected. And then-US president Donald Trump said having more cases in the US than any other country was a ‘badge of honour’, because it meant the US had ‘more testing than anybody else’.

In Britain, non-essential shops were shut and hospitality businesses remained closed, although a handful of fast food chains began reopening for takeaway on the day. Photographs from the day show police patrolling a park in London to look for rule-breakers, and a group of swimmers in Edinburgh being broken up by officers.

May 20 also saw huge queues outside McDonald’s drive-thrus as 30 were reopened to the public from 11am. The move led to police being called to a drive-thru branch of McDonald’s in Cambridgeshire after dozens of customers arrived when it opened.

Cars were queuing around the car park as customers rushed to get their hands on burgers, fries and milkshakes. There were similar scenes at a KFC in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough. Britons were also enjoying the warm weather at the time, with thousands of sun seekers photographed flocking to the iconic Durdle Door beach in Dorset on that day. Dominic Cummings had already made his infamous 30-mile trip to Barnard Castle in County Durham to allegedly test his eyesight by this point, on April 12, although this was not revealed until newspaper reports about it on May 22. 

However senior Tory MP Sir Roger Gale said it was already clear that Mr Johnson misled Parliament and that politically he was a ‘dead man walking’.

Sir Roger, a longstanding critic of the Prime Minister, said he did not expect Mr Johnson to resign and it would fall to the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee – the so-called ‘men in grey suits’ – to decide his fate.

‘We now know that the Prime Minister spent 25 minutes at what was quite clearly a party,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One programme.

‘After Prime Minister’s question time today, it sounds to me, I am afraid, very much as though politically the Prime Minister is a dead man walking.’

Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, invited colleagues to ‘socially distanced drinks’ on May 20 2020 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’ – urging them to ‘bring your own booze’.

The Prime Minister acknowledged public anger: ‘I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.

‘Though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.’

Mr Johnson has faced growing Tory anger over the situation and Cabinet minister Simon Hart acknowledged it is damaging the party and the running of government.

‘There’s a lot of frustration and bafflement about all of this, and I completely understand,’ the Welsh Secretary said.

‘I’ve not met anybody who is not deeply, deeply conscious of the effect that this has on people’s attitudes to not just the political party … but the Government and the smooth running of the nation.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the Prime Minister to resign.

‘After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road,’ Sir Keir said.

‘His defence … that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.’

He added: ‘The party’s over, Prime Minister. The only question is will the British public kick him out, will his party kick him out, or will he do the decent thing and resign?’

The embattled Prime Minister also faced calls to quit from the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, who said if he ‘has no sense of shame, then the Tory backbenchers must act to remove him’.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘Will the Prime Minister, for the good of the country, accept that the party is over and decide to resign?’

Labour’s Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, questioned the Prime Minister’s excuse that he ‘didn’t spot that he was at a social event’, adding: ‘How stupid does the Prime Minister think that British people are?’

The Commons chamber was packed in anticipation of Mr Johnson’s response to the leaked email about the May 20 2020 event – although Chancellor Rishi Sunak, viewed as a potential successor as Tory leader, was notably absent on a visit to Devon.

Mr Johnson’s former aide, Dominic Cummings, now a prominent critic of the Prime Minister, said the claim that the event was ‘technically within the rules’ is ‘bullshit’.

But he said Mr Johnson’s only alternative would be to admit that he broke the rules and resign.

In a sign of the public clamour for answers from the Prime Minister, ITV’s This Morning cut live to the House of Commons to hear his apology.

‘No hugs, no tears, no boozy wake’: ‘Raging’ families relive lockdown funerals they held in May 2020 while Boris Johnson partied in Downing Street garden

  • Boris Johnson finally admitted he went to a ‘party’ in the Downing Street garden
  • Outraged Britons, many grieving the loss of loved ones, have been voicing anger
  • Former nurse Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, had been the only relative allowed to be at his grandmother’s side when she passed away from lung cancer on May 17, 2020
  • And Steve Hynd, 35, and his four siblings had joined together to say goodbye to their beloved father Mike Hynd, 80, with only five people attending the funeral 

Furious families who held funerals in lockdown as the Prime Minister partied at No10 have voiced their rage over the scandal.

Boris Johnson today finally admitted he went to a ‘party’ in the Downing Street garden at the height of lockdown on May 20, 2020 – but argued he thought it was a ‘work event’ and ‘technically’ within the rules.

Up to 30 people, including the Prime Minister and his wife, attended the ‘bring your own booze’ event, and now outraged Britons, many grieving the loss of loved ones, have been revealing their anger at the PM.

Steve Hynd, 35, and his four siblings had joined together to say goodbye to their beloved father Mike Hynd, 80, who contracted coronavirus in a Gloucester hospital the previous month.

With only five people attending the funeral and Mike’s own brother not able to be there, the family struggled through the farewell. 

In a heartbreaking recollection of the funeral and the final days of his father’s life, Steve described his May 2020, saying: ‘At the end of the service there were no hugs, no shared tears, and no sharing of marginally inappropriate anecdotes at the boozy wake.

‘Instead there were just awkward goodbyes and splodges of hand sanitizer as the next casket was wheeled in for the next small group of mourners.’

And former nurse Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, had been the only relative allowed to be at his grandmother’s side when she passed away from lung cancer on May 17, 2020.

Chris Barrett-Hall with his grandmother Deirdre Llewellyn. The ex-NHS worker had also been a carer for Deirdre Llewellyn, 76, and was left heartbroken over the death of his 'best friend'

Chris Barrett-Hall with his grandmother Deirdre Llewellyn. The ex-NHS worker had also been a carer for Deirdre Llewellyn, 76, and was left heartbroken over the death of his ‘best friend’

Steve Hynd, 35, and his four siblings had joined together to say goodbye to their beloved father Mike Hynd (pictured in the Isles of Scilly 2006 with Steve's mother) who contracted coronavirus in a Gloucester hospital the previous month

Steve Hynd, 35, and his four siblings had joined together to say goodbye to their beloved father Mike Hynd (pictured in the Isles of Scilly 2006 with Steve’s mother) who contracted coronavirus in a Gloucester hospital the previous month

The ex-NHS worker had also been a carer for Deirdre Llewellyn, 76, and was left heartbroken over the death of his ‘best friend’.  

Grieving Chris then had to spend the next few days – including May 20 – agonising over which family members could attend her funeral, drawing up plans for the day by himself due to Covid restrictions at the time.

Mr Barrett-Hall said that when he heard about the party it felt like ‘a punch right through the chest’ – as his own father and nephew had been forced to watch the funeral through the window from the car park.

He said: ‘It’s sickening to hear what Downing Street got away with when some of my family weren’t even able to see say goodbye to my grandmother.

‘My father and my baby nephew weren’t even allowed in as the numbers were too tight – they stood outside in the rain and got sopping wet.

‘On that day, I was picking between my loved ones – who were all desperate to say goodbye to my Nan – and it was the most awful task.

Former nurse Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, had been the only relative allowed to be at his grandmother's side when she passed away from lung cancer on May 17, 2020

Former nurse Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, had been the only relative allowed to be at his grandmother’s side when she passed away from lung cancer on May 17, 2020

Deirdre Llewellyn pictured with her grandson. Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, had been the only relative allowed to be at his grandmother's side when she passed away from lung cancer on May 17, 2020

Deirdre Llewellyn pictured with her grandson. Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, had been the only relative allowed to be at his grandmother’s side when she passed away from lung cancer on May 17, 2020

‘My dad would have loved to say goodbye to his mother-in-law and my mum was beside herself not to have her husband there to support her.

‘It was awful to have to make those decisions knowing how it would affect people – and I was just wishing we were allowed two more seats at the service.

‘Meanwhile, Number 10 were partying and they probably don’t even regret it. When I heard on the news about this party, I smashed a mirror this morning.

‘It makes me full of rage.’

Steve Hynd had said that the send-off for his father felt ‘inadequate, a poor fraction of a funeral for a man that burst at the seams of life’.

He added: ‘Instead of holding his hand in those final weeks, I counted down the hours and days left of his life just 20 miles from the hospital where he rested.

‘I still feel disproportionately grateful to the palliative care doctor who told me she sat and held his hand while she spoke to him about steam trains.’

Steve, who is a councillor and deputy leader of Stroud Councillor Green Group, said his father had contracted Covid in a Gloucester hospital, and he was in there for a week or so ‘waiting for the symptoms to take hold’. 

He added: ‘I promise you I didn’t ”make the most of the nice weather”.

‘I’m, once again, lost for words to describe this government.

‘My general thoughts are upset and anger that the PM has clearly lied to us and tried to protect himself when he should have been concentrating on saving others.

‘His claim to have ”done everything he could” to have saved these 150,000 lives is evidently nonsense.’

‘I didn’t know the party I was at was a party… honest!’ Social media is flooded with memes mocking Boris as he admits he WAS at No 10 BYOB bash – but believed it was a ‘work event’

  • Ryanair posted a popular meme with Boris Johnson’s face pasted on it
  • Social media erupted with memes mocking the prime minister this afternoon
  • Follow’s prime minister’s apology as he admitted attending a party in May 2020
  • At today’s PMQs he said he believed he was at a work event rather than a party

Social media has been flooded with memes mocking Boris Johnson after he was forced to apologise for hosting a ‘party’ in the Downing Street garden in May 2020. 

Mr Johnson today finally admitted he went to a ‘party’ in the Downing Street garden at the height of lockdown – but argued he thought it was a ‘work event’ and ‘technically’ within the rules. 

Social media erupted into a hive of memes mocking Mr Johnson, with one showing Ant and Dec in a fit of giggles – alluding to the television presenters’ regular jibes at the Government. 

One joke has previously seen Ant explain a prime minister’s job is to ‘look dishevelled, give easy jobs to their mates & make it up as they go along’. 

Ryanair posted an image of the Prime Minister’s face edited onto a popular meme showing dancing party-goers with the caption ‘Boris Johnson for 25 minutes on 20 May 2020’ and ‘I don’t know I’m at a party’ next to Mr Johnson’s face.  

Another meme showed a scene from popular cartoon The Simpson’s with a stunned Homer sat at a packed bar with the caption ‘Boris being in the garden but not knowing it was a party’.

At a stormy PMQs, Mr Johnson said he wanted to ‘thank’ staff at the event in May 2020 but recognised that in ‘hindsight’ it should not have happened.

He said he understood public ‘fury’ and ‘took responsibility’, but said he had believed it was a work event. ‘I bitterly regret it. I wish we could have done things differently,’ he said.

 

 



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