Northern Ireland news

DUP MP Jim Shannon breaks down in tears while questioning minister over Downing Street drinks party

Jim Shannon becomes emotional in the House of Commons, Westminster, when asking an urgent question over the lockdown-busting Downing Street drinks party allegedly attended by Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie. Picture by House of Commons/PA Wire 
Ben Hatton, PA Political Staff

DUP MP Jim Shannon appeared to break down in tears after recalling the death of his mother-in-law while questioning a British government minister over allegations of Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street during the pandemic.

Mr Shannon was overcome with emotion when speaking about the death of his mother-in-law “who died alone”.

He had joined other MPs in questioning the paymaster general Michael Ellis during an urgent question in the Commons, after ITV news reported Martin Reynolds, the prime minister’s principal private secretary, invited employees to a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden during England’s first lockdown in May 2020.

In an emotional contribution in the Commons, Mr Shannon said: “In Northern Ireland we reached the milestone of 3,000 deaths due to Covid just last week.”

The MP for Strangford added: “Including my mother-in-law, who died alone.”

Mr Shannon then paused to compose himself before trying to continue with his question, though visibly upset.

He asked for “full and complete disclosure”.

And he ended his remarks saying “sorry” to the Speaker.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis responded: “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.”

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