Calendar of ‘Christmas parties’, denials and COVID rules: what happened in Downing Street last year?

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Calendar of ‘Christmas parties’, denials and COVID rules: what happened in Downing Street last year?


It has been a week since the Daily Mirror first published reports of parties in Downing Street last year that may have broken COVID rules.

Although the prime minister refused to deny parties took place, he repeatedly insisted advice was followed at all times.

Most new leaked images released by ITV News, questioned this account.

This timeline brings together the dates the rallies took place, and what ministers, government spokesman and Boris Johnson himself have since said.

Image:
Allegra Stratton appears to be answering a repeat question about a Downing Street Christmas party in 2020

November 27, 2020

Boris Johnson delivers a speech at a departure party for a staff member in Downing Street during the second nationwide lockdown, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.

December 16, 2020

Level 3 restrictions go into effect in London, meaning people were not allowed to mix indoors with anyone outside of their homes or the Support Bubble.

December 18, 2020

A party is held in Downing Street with around 40 people in attendance, according to sources who spoke to Sky News. The party was hosted via WhatsApp, with staff encouraged to bring “Secret Santa” gifts, according to the Times.

December 22, 2020

As Downing Street staff prepare to launch daily press briefings in a new custom-built media room, Boris Johnson spokesperson Allegra Stratton answers questions from colleagues in a rehearsal .

During the rehearsal, Special Advisor No.10 Ed Oldfield asks about a party that took place in Downing Street a few days earlier.

Rehearsal is being recorded.

November 30, 2021

The Daily Mirror publishes an article revealing the events that unfolded in Downing Street on November 27 and December 18 of the previous year, which prompted denials that COVID rules had been broken.

December 1, 2021

The Prime Minister was asked about the party by Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer in PMQ. Mr Johnson does not deny that a party took place but tells MPs “all guidelines have been followed”.

Sir Keir responds by saying: ‘Does the Prime Minister really expect the country to believe that even though people were banned from seeing their loved ones on Christmas last year it was good for him and his friends? to throw a boozy party in Downing Street? “

He accuses the Prime Minister of “taking the British public for fools”.

December 2, 2021

Vaccine Minister Maggie Throup is being ridiculed for answering questions about Downing Street parties during BBC Question Time: just rumors and hearsay.

December 5, 2021

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “The Prime Minister has made it clear that no rules have been broken. I was not there by the way. “

He adds, “If someone threw a party against the rules, of course that’s not the right thing to do.

“As a lawyer and as a politician, it is not a responsible thing to start answering hypothetical questions about anonymous sources in relation to unsubstantiated allegations. “

December 6, 2021

Responding to information from The Times that the December 18, 2020 party was hosted on WhatsApp and involved a ‘Secret Santa’ game, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said, “There was no party and the COVID rules were followed at all times ”. .

Police Minister Kit Malthouse told Sky News: ‘We are assured, I have been assured that everything has been done to comply with COVID regulations at the time … my general opinion is that when a crime is reported, it should be investigated ”.

December 7, 2021

In a short interview with reporters, Boris Johnson once again refuses to deny that a party took place, but says: “I made sure that the guidelines were followed at all times. “

Later that evening, ITV News released a video of Allegra Stratton’s rehearsal on December 22 of last year.

The Metropolitan Police released a statement saying, “We are aware of images obtained by ITV News regarding alleged violations of the Health Protection Regulation in a Government Building in December 2020. Our policy is not to systematically investigate retrospective violations of COVID-19. regulations, but images will be part of our consideration. “

Downing Street then posted a new response: “There was no Christmas party. COVID rules were followed at all times. ”

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