Boris Johnson’s authorities went into hiding this morning after the PM was disgraced by footage of his personal crew laughing a couple of No10 workers Christmas get together.
For every week after the Mirror revealed the bash on December 18 final yr – when London was in Tier 3 lockdown guidelines – ministers have insisted no guidelines had been damaged.
No10 even overtly tried to insinuate it didn’t occur – by claiming no matter passed off wasn’t a celebration.
But now a clip has been leaked to ITV News of a non-public ‘mock’ press convention 4 days after the bash, which concerned a Secret Santa, wine, a quiz and “40 or 50” folks.
War-gaming questions if the occasion leaked, then-Press Secretary Allegra Stratton shrugged “what’s the answer?” earlier than joking it was “was not socially distanced”.
Staff within the £2.6m No9 briefing room joked about there being “cheese and wine” and recommended they may defend it as a “business meeting”.
On the day of the mock press convention, 629 folks died within the UK with Covid on their loss of life certificates.
Boris Johnson isn’t accused of being on the December 18 get together, however is accused of being at a second bash held as a leaving do on November 27.
Today Health Secretary Sajid Javid deserted the ‘broadcast round’ of morning TV interviews, the place he was meant to have fun a yr for the reason that first Covid jab.
ITV’s Good Morning Britain left an empty chair whereas BBC Radio 4 presenter Nick Robinson stated Mr Javid’s appearances was cancelled “just a few minutes after that video emerged”.
It is extremely uncommon for the federal government to place no minister on the morning spherical, which occurs between 7am and 9am and sometimes entails 5 or 6 interviews.
Sky News presenter Joe Pike stated: “The Health Secretary was briefly due to come on this programme and other programmes this morning because it’s one year since Margaret Keenan was the first person in the world to receive a Covid vaccine outside a clinical trials.
“That was cancelled, and other ministerial visits today with media access have also been cancelled.”
But the PM must face the music at Prime Minister’s Questions at midday, the place Keir Starmer is prone to blast his makes an attempt to deceive the British public.
Labour ’s chief stated “to lie and to laugh about those lies is shameful,” including: “Unfortunately we have a Prime Minister who is socially distanced from the truth.”
SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford added: “If this is true, then the Prime Minister’s position is untenable and he must remove himself from office immediately.”
Tory MPs are privately enraged that they defended No10 just for Boris Johnson to breach their belief. One advised ITV there would must be resignations.
Conservative Sir Roger Gale advised Sky News: “This is like one thing out of The Thick Of It.”
He added: “I fear this could be a Barnard Castle moment all over again. It is very serious.”
Sir Roger demanded Boris Johnson come to PMQs and either admit there was a party – or categorically deny it.
The MP told the BBC: “If he says that, I will believe him. And the reason is because that will be on the record at the despatch box, and of course to mislead the House of Commons deliberately would be a resignation matter.”
On the day of the party, Tier 3 rules banned gatherings of multiple households in London unless they were “permitted organised gatherings” such as a business meeting.
But barely 24 hours before staff met, the government explicitly warned a business owner that Christmas drinks would not count as “reasonably necessary for work”.
The GOV.UK Twitter account told a man called Mick on December 17: “Although there are exemptions for work purposes, you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier.”
NHS Confederation chief Matthew Taylor stated the Downing Street Christmas get together was a “blow to morale” to NHS workers.
“If it feels as though powerful people are not playing by the rules, then there is a blow to morale, it does make it harder to get people to follow the advice,” he added.
One NHS staffer advised the PA Media news company she was “incandescent” with anger.
“To say I’m angry… I’m incandescent. It’s the disrespect, it’s the one rule for us and another rule for them, that’s what’s the worst,” the NHS employee stated.
“I see Allegra Stratton laughing up there and I feel sick, I feel disrespected, (like) I’ve been taken for a mug.
“I am unable to put sufficient phrases collectively proper now as to how appalling that behaviour is. It ought to have penalties.”
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated it was “absolutely” a matter for police to take a look at.
Last night time the Metropolitan Police stated: “We are aware of footage obtained by ITV News relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at a Government building in December 2020.
“It is our coverage to not routinely examine retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 laws, nevertheless the footage will type a part of our issues.”
Mr Hancock told Good Morning Britain: “I’ve seen something from the police in the newspapers saying they will take it into consideration. It’s absolutely a matter for them and certainly not for the politicians.”
But despite being in government at the time he insisted “I wasn’t invited, I wasn’t there”, adding: “I only found out about it late last night and then I got up early this morning.”
The recording is of a rehearsal on December 22 for planned daily TV media briefings, which Ms Stratton was supposed to be the face of but the Prime Minister later scrapped.
Ed Oldfield, adviser to the PM, stated: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”
“I went home”, replies Ms Stratton, who seems to crease up laughing earlier than telling colleagues “hold on”.
Following an extended pause, Mr Oldfield goes on: “Would the prime minister condone having a Christmas party?”
Ms Stratton laughs and says “what’s the reply?” before her colleagues step in to help her compose an answer.
“It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine”, offers one.
“Is cheese and wine alright?” Ms Stratton asks, before adding, again laughing “it was a business meeting”.
She then warns those present “this is recorded” and says “this fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”
Becky Kummer, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said: “In September Boris Johnson looked bereaved families in the eyes and told them he had done everything he could to save their loved ones.
“There are merely no phrases to explain how upsetting and shameful it’s then to listen to Boris Johnson’s crew laughing about breaking the principles that they had made, while others adopted them and will solely say goodbye to their family members by a display screen.
“It’s the behaviour of people that assume they’re above us.”