politics

Meet Allegra Stratton, the Tory spin doctor who laughed about Christmas Party


Allegra Stratton is the face of the horrifying video in which government officials can be seen jokingly working out how to spin a Downing Street party last Christmas, despite being in the midst of Covid restrictions

Allegra Stratton laughed and joked about holding a Christmas party in the throws of the Covid pandemic

Allegra Stratton’s face has been plastered across every news outlet and social media platform, after a video leaked to ITV shows her laughing and joking about breaking Covid restrictions last year on a day when 629 people died with the virus.

Stratton, now 41, rose to prominence as a journalist, first as political correspondent for the Labour-supporting Guardian newspaper, before moving to BBC2’s Newsnight as the political editor.

Whilst at Newsnight she came under fire after appearing to accuse a working mother of two of choosing to claim benefits.

Leaving the BBC, she joined rivals ITV as a national news editor in 2015 and co-presented Preston on Sunday alongside Robert Preston.

Ms Stratton left journalism in April 2020, quitting to join the government as the Director of Strategic Communications for Rishi Sunak’s treasury.







At the time of the shocking video Stratton was the Downing Street Press Secretary
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Image:

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Allegra Stratton Downing Street Christmas party video

In the leaked clip of a press conference rehearsal, Stratton is seen prepping responses to questions about a Number 10 Christmas party that is alleged to have taken place on December 18 2020.

She can be seen making light of would-be-questions about a wine and cheese night involving over 40 people.

She responds “what’s the answer?” and laughs that it “was not socially distanced”.

It is believed the festive evening, which coincided with around 28,000 new cases that day, also included a secret Santa.

What is Allegra Stratton’s job in government?

At the time of the video Stratton was the Downing Street Press Secretary, tasked with being a regular face in the government’s plans to hold frequent on-the-record White House-style televised press briefings.

Ms Stratton’s televised meetings were delayed several times before they were eventually scrapped.

During this time she collected a taxpayer-funded pay packet of between £125,000 and £129,000 per year.

In April this year, she moved to a new role as spokesperson for the COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow, after plans for the briefings were scrapped.

Speaking to the Times she said: “I’m delighted to be starting this new role. The COP26 climate conference is an opportunity to deliver a cleaner, greener world and I’m looking forward to working with the prime minister and Alok Sharma to ensure this is a significant success.”

However, despite taking a key role as a prominent face in the fight to save the earth from global heating, Stratton caused disbelief amongst environmentalists when in August 2021 she said that she didn’t “fancy” an electric car “quite yet”.







Chancellor Rishi Sunak went to boarding school with Allegra’s husband, political editor James Forsyth
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She said the battery charging times put her off, instead preferring her “third hand” fuel-thirsty VW Golf.

She admitted to using the car for a 250 mile journey across the country to see family.

Allegra Stratton’s husband James Forsyth

Stratton is married to James Forsyth, the political editor of the Spectator – a Tory-supporting magazine that Prime Minister Boris Johnson used to edit.

Forsyth went to school with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, where they both attended the £41,709 boarding school, Winchester Collage.

The Chancellor was best man at Stratton and Forsyth’s wedding, with Sunak having attended Oxford and the Forsyth Cambridge.

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