Downing Street staff are shown joking in a leaked recording of the Christmas party which they then denied – .

Downing Street staff are shown joking in a leaked recording of the Christmas party which they then denied – .

Senior staff at Downing Street joked about hosting a Christmas party at Number 10 just four days after the event allegedly took place last December, a leaked recording revealed to ITV News.

The staff can be heard laughing and making references to ‘cheese and wine’, while Boris JohnsonSpokeswoman Allegra Stratton said at the time that there was “absolutely no social distancing”.

The recording is of a December 22 rehearsal for the daily press briefings offered by Downing Street on television, which Ms Stratton was facing before they were later dropped.

Staff at the 9 Downing Street press room are asking fictitious questions to help them prepare.

Ed Oldfield, adviser to the Prime Minister, asks: “I just saw information on Twitter that there was a Christmas party in Downing Street on Friday night, do you recognize this information?

“I’m back home,” Ms. Stratton laughs, before coming to a halt, telling her colleagues to “hang on”, as she seems to be thinking about her answer.

“Umm, errr, ahhhh” are the noises she makes as she looks around the room, seemingly at a loss for words.

After a long pause, Mr Oldfield asks: ‘Would the Prime Minister agree to throw a Christmas party?

Mrs. Stratton laughed, lowering her eyes before answering, “What’s the answer?” “

Staff then attempt to help the Prime Minister’s former spokesperson formulate a response.

“It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine,” replies one of them.

“Are cheese and wine right for you?” Mrs. Stratton asks. At this point the member of staff who made the comment about the cheese and wine appears to be saying “No… kidding”.

Mrs. Stratton adds “it was a business meeting” as she laughs again.

She then warns her colleagues, “this is recorded” and declares through more laughter, “this fictitious party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”

London was under Level 3 restrictions at the time of the alleged holiday. Credit: Pennsylvania

A source who was aware of the Downing Street party told ITV News: “We all know someone who has passed away from Covid and after seeing all this in the papers, I couldn’t say anything. I’m so mad at all of this, the way it’s being denied. “

Over the past week, the PM, senior ministers and number 10 have denied any rules were broken on December 18, 2020, amid allegations that a Boozy Christmas party took place in Downing Street with initial reports suggesting the presence of 40 to 50 people. It is not suggested that the Prime Minister attended the event.

But London was under Level 3 restrictions at the time, meaning that social events, including parties, were banned.

The law clearly stated that “no one may participate in an assembly in the level 3 zone which consists of two or more persons and which takes place in an indoor space”.

The government’s own guidelines have made it clear that people “should not have lunch or Christmas parties at work, as it is a primarily social activity.”

And the police were actively looking for violators of the Covid rules at the time.

London Metropolitan Police ended a wedding attended by “nearly 40 people” on December 17, just a day before the alleged Downing Street party.

“Organizing large gatherings could be the difference between someone else’s life and death,” the force said in a tweet.

“London is at level 3. You shouldn’t mix inside with someone who is not a part of your household or your supportive bubble. “

Met Police said in a statement to ITV News about the leaked video: “We are aware of footage obtained by ITV News of alleged violations of the Health Protection Regulations at a government building in December. 2020.

“It is our policy not to systematically investigate retrospective violations of Covid 19 regulations, but images will be part of our considerations. “

If the alleged event was a “business meeting,” as Ms. Stratton puts it in the disclosed record, it could still have broken the rules.

Official government guidelines have stated that business meetings should “use remote working tools to avoid face-to-face meetings” and that only “absolutely necessary” participants should attend in person.

In-person business meetings were allowed to hold a maximum of 30 people, with reports saying there were between 40 and 50 people.

Either way, the guidelines say social distancing should be observed in all physical meetings – Ms Stratton in the recording said there was “absolutely no social distancing” at the event.

The day after the so-called No10 party, much of England came under even tighter restrictions and for millions of people Christmas was canceled altogether.

Today, Prime Minister Johnson did not deny that a party took place when asked, but said: ‘I myself have confidence that the guidelines were followed at all times. “

A series of ministers also denied that there had been any wrongdoing, including Health Secretary Sajid Javid who told ITV News he was “absolutely confident” that all the rules were being followed at all times in number 10.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab insisted on Sunday that all guidelines were followed, but admitted that if a party had taken place it would have been “clearly against guidelines.”

On Monday, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson toughened the response, denying that there was any party.

In response to the ITV News story, Downing Street said: “There was no Christmas party. Covid rules were followed at all times. “

union leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government “treated the public with contempt”, calling the leaked video “shameful” and said the prime minister should apologize.

He said the leaked video showed “the government broke the rules, they partied and now they’re laughing.”

“The Prime Minister has to be clear on this, he claimed there had been no breach of the rules when it was blindly obvious that there had been and seeing people now laughing about it then that others did not see their relatives and some of them I never saw them again, it is contemptuous ”, added Sir Keir.

But SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford went further and said “Mr Johnson’s position is untenable and he must step down immediately”.

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP said: “This video is damning and leaves the Prime Minister with many responsibilities.

‘When every individual from top to bottom of the country was ordered to stay at home in order to protect the NHS, the Tories were instead throwing a Christmas party which, as a senior staff member has now confirmed, was “not socially distanced”.

“If this is true, then the Prime Minister’s position is untenable and he must step down immediately. “


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