LABOUR leaders in County Durham have called on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to resign over 'Partygate'.

A letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed by 57 councillors - 53 from the Labour group, four independent or "unaligned".

It states: "The people of County Durham watched in fury and dismay as news broke that you and Chancellor Rishi Sunak breached the Covid lockdown regulations.

"The recent images of you toasting yet another party at Downing Street, as the latest round of fines were doled out among your staff, has only added fuel to that fire.

"As families waved to each other across gardens, as businesses collapsed across County Durham, as our communities organised food and medication runs for vulnerable people, as people tearfully watched loved ones draw their final breath on laptops and tablets, you and colleagues held parties – while we locked down, you lorded it up!

Read more: No 10 denies Johnson sought to block release of ‘partygate’ report

"County Durham adhered to the restrictions imposed. We did it to protect loved ones, ease pressure on frontline heroes in an under-funded NHS, we did it because YOU told us to.

"So many made heart-breaking sacrifices because, night after night, the Prime Minister appeared on national TV imploring us to “stay home, protect the NHS, save lives”, but we now know these words were hollow, as our PM cheerfully broke the very laws he created!

"Every one of us knows families who couldn’t attend a loved one’s funeral, visit sick relatives in hospital or hug their own child or parent. Durham residents did what was right, you did not.

"Whether you understood the rules you created or simply thought they didn’t apply to you is now irrelevant; you broke the law, you lied about it and you got caught.

"The time has come to do the right thing and resign as Prime Minister. The people of the UK and the people County Durham deserve better."

This comes in the wake of more than 100 fixed penalty notices issued by police investigating the ‘partygate’ lockdown-breaking allegations at Downing Street, including one each to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, as well as a photo showing the Prime Minister raising a glass and the anticipated publication of the full Sue Gray report.

Councillor Carl Marshall, leader of the County Durham Labour Group, said: “What he and others have been caught doing - let’s not forget the lies as the PM tried to squirm off the hook - is unforgivable. They must go.

“We have a PM who no longer has the authority to ask people to obey the law. He now must break the habit of a lifetime and do the decent thing – resign.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Carl Marshall. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Carl Marshall. Picture: Northern Echo.

“The UK is governed by proven liars and lawbreakers – how far must they drag us down before enough is enough?”

Deputy leader Rob Crute said: “So many of our residents gave up so much to protect the NHS, themselves and their family and communities.

"Heartbreakingly, many died alone as the pandemic tore through this country while the government dithered about lockdowns, test and trace and mask mandates.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Rob Crute. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Rob Crute. Picture: Northern Echo.

“Now, we get confirmation and photographs showing the senior tier of Government partied as we locked down, boozing as we watched loved ones fade away via Zoom and Teams links.

"Where do we stand when our lawmakers become lawbreakers?

“How can the nation put faith or trust in a PM and party that not only broke their own rules, but repeatedly lied about it? They have to go and have to go now.”

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