A TORY MP has been slammed after offering up an absurd defence of the May 2020 Downing Street party.

On Monday night ITV revealed a leaked email showing Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, inviting more than 100 Downing Street employees to “make the most of the lovely weather” in the garden.

Attendees were also told to bring their own booze. England was under tough coronavirus restrictions banning groups from meeting socially outdoors when the message was sent.

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Symonds attended, according to the reports.

Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield

There has been an outpouring of anger from members of the public and opposition politicians since the news emerged – and some Conservatives, including former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, have also added their criticism.

However, some MPs were keen to offer up their support for the Prime Minister – with Michael Fabricant, the Tory representative for Lichfield, among them.

Although he retweeted a post on Monday night questioning why Reynolds had not been fired yet, he took to social media the morning after to defend Johnson and his staff.

He suggested that because the staff had “worked incredibly hard on all our behalves on the vaccine programme etc”, the gathering may not have been a “flagrant breach of the rules”.

In a thread, the 71-year-old wrote: “Was the Downing Street Party a ‘flagrant breach of the rules’ as #Labour are happily claiming? Sue Gray will decide, but here are the facts:

“1) There are 80/90 offices in the Downing Street complex with key workers who were all operating closely together indoors.

“2) Only they were invited to relax in the open air (an enclosed garden) and would not have increased the risk of contagion

“3) No outside guests were invited at all

“4) These people had worked incredibly hard on all our behalves on the vaccine programme etc.”

Fabricant quickly came under attack on social media, sparked thousands of replies within a couple of hours.

Many people sent the MP a clip posted by the Met Police on the day of the alleged party reminding people they had to be on their own, or within their household, if they were out and about.

READ MORE: Met Police sued by Good Law Project over No 10 Christmas parties

Others reminded him that on May 22, 2020, Fabricant tweeted: “The need to set fixed rules, belies the fact that individuals should be capable of making informed judgments. Sadly, some are not.”

The claim about staffers working hard sparked the majority of criticism.

“Listen chum, we were all ‘working exceptionally hard’ by sticking to the rules and in many cases not being able to see loved ones in their final hours and not being able to attend their funerals,” pointed out @MrJonathanMock.

“Presume you can point to the exemption in the Covid rules for people in workplaces with gardens to have parties there if they had been working terribly hard?” asked David Henig. “No, of course not.”

Kate Hilton added: “They broke the rules they made. I’m not sure their ‘working hard’ cuts it when thousands of NHS and care staff were putting their own lives at risk, and with inadequate PPE to care for the sick and dying from Covid.”

And others pointed out that this event took place before the vaccine programme had even begun.

Meanwhile on Tuesday morning, a minister acknowledged public anger over the situation.

Health Minister Edward Argar told the BBC: “I can entirely understand why people who’ve lost loved ones, or people who’ve just had their lives hugely disrupted by these restrictions, are angry and upset by these allegations.”

But he refused to be drawn on details of the May 20, 2020 “socially distanced drinks”, insisting that it was a matter for the investigation into Whitehall parties being carried out by senior official Sue Gray.

He said that “appropriate disciplinary action” should be taken if rules were broken – something that could prove incredibly awkward for the Prime Minister if he is found to have attended, as has been claimed by sources including former aide Dominic Cummings.