The family of a leading and distinguished Wiltshire Conservative figure who were banned from seeing him before he died under lockdown, have shamed Boris Johnson and his No 10 staff for partying in Downing Street on the night before he passed away.

A barbed letter from the family of the late Lionel Grundy OBE has been sent to Devizes MP Danny Kruger with the request that he personally asks the Prime Minister to explain the behaviour which has outraged the nation.

It will fuel the fury and huge embarrassment of the Tory Party as, the widely-respected Mr Grundy was the Conservative Leader of Kennet District Council, a high-ranking member of Conservative-led Wiltshire Council and the chairman of the Devizes Conservative Party.

The letter, from Mr Grundy’s son-in-law, John Palmer, reveals that Mr Grundy suffered “much emotional distress” from not seeing his family in his final days because he obeyed the law which Downing Street party-goers ignored.

Mr Grundy’s six grandchildren were particularly upset that Covid restrictions meant they could not say goodbye face-to-face to their much-loved grandfather.

READ MORE: Wiltshire MPs weigh in on the Downing Street party scandal

Mr Grundy, who was also the Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire before he entered local government, died, aged 86, on May 21 last year.

This was the day after the notorious Downing Street party attended by the Prime Minister, his wife Carrie Johnson and reportedly 40 of his staff, who were told in the invitation from the Prime Minister's principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, to “bring your own booze”.

At the time the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors.

Although Downing Street staff ignored the law restricting gatherings, as a former senior police officer, Mr Grundy insisted that the law was followed, even though it meant that he tragically could not see his loved ones.

In his open letter to Mr Kruger, Mr Palmer asks: “I would be grateful if you could ask your colleague, the Prime Minister, to help me explain to Lionel's grandchildren how it was acceptable for a party to be held in Downing Street on the evening before Lionel's death, while at the same time, it was illegal for them all to spend time him?”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lionel GrundyLionel Grundy

Mr Kruger told this newspaper that the case of Mr Grundy, who lived in Potterne, near Devizes, was “particularly distressing”.

Boris Johnson apologised in the House of Commons for the Downing Street party and added: “I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden from meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this house I offer my heartfelt apologies.”

Danny Kruger has had hundreds of emails from constituents about the Downing Street parties and he is writing individually to those whose families have suffered under the lockdown.

In a reply to all of his correspondents he said that the party at No 10 on May 20 “plainly should not have happened”. He wrote that he “guessed” that the Prime Minister’s explanation that it was a work event was “plausible” adding: “but it was obviously a social event too.

"The appearance is one of decadence, rule-stretching and, worse, a callous disregard for the personal sacrifices that families were making at that time.”

Mr Kruger added: “It is an absolute moral truth that the people who make the rules should stick by the spirit as well as the letter of them. No doubt Sue Gray's inquiry will get to the bottom of exactly how these events were organised, who was there, and what happened at them; and no doubt consequences will follow.

“The broader issue, and the subject of many of my letters, concerns the character and competence of the Prime Minister. I am sorry that so many people, many of them lifelong Conservative voters, have decided they cannot vote for us again while Boris Johnson is leader.

“They represent the respectable tendency which is the foundation of our party and indeed our country: the people who believe in following the rules, being straight with people and being accountable for your conduct. It is a very bad moment when so many people like this lose faith in a Conservative Prime Minister.”

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In a statement to the Gazette & Herald Mr Kruger said: “Over the past week I have received a number of very personal emails from constituents telling of the sacrifices that they, their friends and family were making at the same time it appeared that Downing Street staff were partying. I am in the process of responding personally to all those who have shared their own circumstances.

“The death in May 2020 of Lionel Grundy – a former council leader and Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire - is a particularly distressing case and I have written to his family to express my sympathy and regret.”

Mr Palmer’s full letter to Danny Kruger, which was also sent to this newspaper, reads:

I'm not sure if you ever met my father-in-law Lionel Grundy OBE?

Lionel had a long and distinguished career in the police service and was Deputy Chief Constable for Wiltshire.

Following his retirement from the police, Lionel went into local Government, becoming the Conservative Leader of Kennet District Council in 2007.

When Wiltshire Council was created in 2009, he was elected as the Conservative councillor for the Urchfont and The Cannings division. At Wiltshire Council, he was a cabinet member for children's services and portfolio holder for education. Lionel was also the Chairman of the Devizes Conservative party.

Sadly Lionel died on 21 May 2020.

As a former senior police officer, Lionel was insistent that the COVID rules of law were followed; although this meant, in the weeks and months before his death, that he was unable to any spend time with his six grandchildren, me, Murray, his other son-in-law and other close family, colleagues and friends.

In the months preceding his death, his close family were unable to visit him, and his funeral was limited to close family members

I know this lack of personal contact caused Lionel much emotional distress in his final months, weeks and days. His grandchildren, in particular, missed the opportunity to say goodbye to their much-loved grandfather face-to-face.

I would be grateful if you could ask your colleague, the Prime Minister, to help me explain to Lionel's grandchildren how it was acceptable for a party to be held in Downing Street on the evening before Lionel's death, while at the same time, it was illegal for them all to spend time him?

I look forward to your response.