politics

Downing Street staff joke about holding Christmas party in No10, leaked recording shows


DOWNING Street staff joked about holding a Christmas Party in No10 in a leaked recording, it was revealed last night.

Senior members of the PM’s top team were filmed laughing and referring to “cheese and wine” in a mock press conference held by Allegra Stratton in the No9 briefing room.

Allegra Stratton was filmed being asked about an alleged Christmas Party in No10

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Allegra Stratton was filmed being asked about an alleged Christmas Party in No10

In footage of the fake presser, obtained by ITV, one of the PM’s advisers asked: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”

Ms Stratton joked: “I went home!” before she paused to consider how to respond.

The aide added: “Would the prime minister condone having a Christmas party?”

Ms Stratton, who was due to lead daily political press briefings in the £2.5million press room before the plan was ditched earlier this year, laughed and replied: “what’s the answer?”

Another No10 staffer popped up to say: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.”

Ms Stratton added: “Is cheese and wine alright? It was a business meeting…”

She went on to warn her colleagues the mock briefing “is recorded” and “this fictional party was a business meeting, and it was not socially distanced.”

The video was taken on December 22, just days after the alleged gathering was said to have taken place in No10.

Ministers and the Government have repeatedly denied that a bash took place in the heart of Government when London was under Tier 3 restrictions – meaning gatherings were banned.

In-person business meetings were allowed but only when strictly necessary, and had limits on numbers.

Just days later Tier 4 was introduced, cancelling Christmas for millions.

The PM was grilled again on the bash last night, saying: “I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.”

Downing Street said in response to the leaked footage last night: “There was no Christmas party. Covid rules have been followed at all times.”

The footage showed a mock press conference taking place in the No9 briefing room

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The footage showed a mock press conference taking place in the No9 briefing room

Sir Keir Starmer blasted the relevations as “shameful” and called on the PM to come clean and say sorry now.

The Labour boss said: “People across the country followed the rules even when that meant being separated from their families, locked down and – tragically for many – unable to say goodbye to their loved ones.

“They had a right to expect that the government was doing the same. To lie and to laugh about those lies is shameful.

“The Prime Minister now needs to come clean, and apologise. It cannot be one rule for the Conservatives and another for everyone else.”

Nearly two in three Brits think the rules were broken, and 63 per cent say Boris should apologise, Savanta ComRes polling showed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson: ‘I’ve said many times now that I think this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas…’





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