David Lammy has accused the government of ‘laughing’ at the public after a bottle of champagne from the Tory chairman was auctioned off as a ‘partygate memento’.
Speaking at a protest opposite Downing Street on a wet Sunday afternoon, the Shadow Foreign Secretary called Boris Johnson a ‘travesty’ and called on him to quit.
‘Just a few days ago a bottle of champagne, signed by Boris Johnson, was auctioned off at a Hertfordshire Conservative Party meeting,’ he said.
“It was a meeting of the chairman of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden.
“Signed on this bottle, alongside Boris Johnson’s signature, was that it was a souvenir from partygate.”
Mr Lammy’s mention of Mr Dowden drew boos from the crowd, many of whom were carrying EU flags, umbrellas and berets.
The bottle, advertised to bidders as a ‘memorabilia from partygate’, the series of parties held in Downing Street during lockdown, was in fact auctioned off by a Hertfordshire charity.
A spokesperson for Mr Dowden confirmed he had donated the champagne, but added he had ‘no prior knowledge’ of its description.
Tottenham MP Mr Lammy continued: “My friends, they are laughing at us, they are laughing at us.
“And the simple question for the British public is, does it matter if you have a prime minister who breaks the rules?
“We are watching Boris Johnson, we are watching the travesty that has hit No 10 and our country, and we are saying quit now.”
In an apparent reference to the No 10 lockdown parties, for which the Prime Minister was fined by police, one protester held up a sign that read: ‘I brought my own boos.’
Mr Dowden handed the champagne to the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, which confirmed the Tory chairman was not responsible for the partygate reference.
It said in a statement: ‘This item was donated in good faith several months ago as part of a charity auction raising funds to support some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.
“The description was not written or seen by MP Oliver Dowden prior to the event.
“On behalf of the association, we apologize for any offense caused.”
Natalie Bennett, the green peer who ran unsuccessfully for parliament three times, said Britain was ‘not a democracy’ in her speech at the protest.
“Boris Johnson has 100% of the power on this side of the Houses of Parliament, despite only winning 44% of the vote,” she said.
“Not only are we not a democracy, but we are moving very quickly, as many have said, towards an autocracy.”