What must people who lost loved ones have felt? They couldn’t be with them as they neared the end of life, and they couldn’t have a proper funeral. But at the same time, the people at number 10 were gathering in numbers to have drinks and nibbles.

In all the harrumphing about ‘Partygate’ I don’t think I have come across anyone discussing theology. Where is God in all this? How could the Divine enter into that junior common room that seems to have transplanted itself into 10 Downing Street?

Nothing terrible seems to have happened to them. They got away with it. People could complain, like the Psalmist in Psalm 73,

‘I was grieved at the wicked: I do also see the ungodly in such prosperity. … They come in no misfortune like other folk: neither are they plagued like other men.’ (Psalm 73:3-5).

Or, they might well have used some less Biblical expressions.

But, in the Old Testament at least, it doesn’t pay to disobey God. The fortunes of the people of Israel went up or down depending on whether they followed God’s commandments. They worshipped the Baals and ended up stuck in exile by the waters of Babylon.

That might encourage us to think theologically about Partygate in terms of possible divine judgement and retribution, that these people ought to come to a sticky end – if not now, then certainly at the Day of Judgement.

I’m not sure how literally we can understand that idea of hellfire and damnation, although the young Lords of the Universe in residence in 10 Downing Street do appear to be a godless bunch. It does seem wrong for them to get away scot-free. But would it trouble the Almighty?

What would Jesus do? Suppose He had appeared at ‘wine o’clock’ one evening? Jesus has form here. Remember he sat down to eat with publicans and sinners. Jesus wasn’t really given to condemning people.

Think of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-11). It looks like we can’t, in all conscience, call on theology for a magic bullet or a magic firing squad. What Jesus said was,‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’.

But nevertheless, I do think that some of those party people must now be feeling very guilty. Surely it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some of them may even have repented.

I hope so.

Hugh Bryant