London party

Boris Johnson’s aides joked about the Christmas party in Downing Street as London locked out

The party was said to have taken place on December 18, when London was under ‘level 3’ lockdown restrictions, meaning people were not allowed to mingle indoors with anyone outside their homes or of the support bubble.

The recording is a simulated press briefing on December 22, 2020, four days after the event allegedly took place, according to CNN affiliate ITV.

It shows then Prime Minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton joking when another No 10 official asks him about reports of a Christmas party. She laughs, says she “went home” then says “this fictitious party was a business meeting and she was not socially distanced”.

Johnson said on Wednesday he apologized wholeheartedly for the offense caused by the leaked video.

He told the Prime Minister’s questions in parliament: “I understand and share the anger across the country that the staff at Number 10 appear to be taking the lockdown measures lightly.

“I can understand how maddening it must be to think that the people who set the rules didn’t follow the rules, Mr President, because I was so furious to see this clip. reserve for the offense he has caused up and down the country and I apologize for the impression that gives. “

Johnson said he has been insured on several occasions since reports of a Christmas party in Downing Street last year revealed that there had been no parties and no rules of Covid had not been breached.

“I have asked the Secretary to the Cabinet to establish the facts and report back as soon as possible. And Mr. President, it goes without saying that if these rules are broken, disciplinary action will be taken for everyone involved.”

Since the video appeared, Downing Street has reiterated “that there was no Christmas party and the coronavirus rules were followed at all times.”

CNN has asked Stratton for comment but at the time of publication has not received a response. CNN has also reached out to numerous government officials for comment, but has had no response.

In response to the video, UK opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer told parliament Johnson “was caught red-handed”.

“Why doesn’t he end the investigation now by admitting it?” Starmer said.

“No one dreamed of a Zoom Christmas, turkey dinners for one, gifts exchanged at gas stations. But the virus was out of control … So the British put the health of others above. ‘themselves and followed the rules. Isn’t the Prime Minister ashamed that his Downing Street cannot do the same? ” Starmer said.

On December 18, 2020, the day of the alleged Downing Street party, the UK reported 514 Covid deaths, according to the government dashboard.

Scottish National Party leader in Westminster Ian Blackford has called for Johnson’s resignation.

“It is time for the members of this house to act if he does not reign, that he must be removed,” he said.

Labor lawmaker David Lammy tweeted: “As people lost their lives, No 10 partied. While people stuck to the rules, No 10 broke them. the nation was in pain, they joked. It’s absolutely sickening. They’re laughing at all of us. It’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us. “

Boris Johnson’s Tory lawmaker Tobias Ellwood told the BBC on Wednesday the government had to show “it has to be [the criticism] seriously “and get ahead of the story.

Another Conservative MP, Charles Walker, told Times Radio on Wednesday: “I think now that in the future everything [coronavirus] the measures will be consultative. I think it would be very difficult to include them in law and then to ask our poor police forces once again to enforce them, ”after the video appeared.

CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Amy Cassidy contributed to this report.