New controversy for the Government of Boris Johnson after leaking a video about a supposed party which took place on December 18, 2020, when the country maintained movement restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Two days earlier, London had entered the level 3 anticovid alert and the celebrations of Christmas parties involved penalties of up to 12,000 euros.
Christmas gathering in Downing Street?
The controversy arises from the publication of a video, released by ITV News, in which Johnson’s then press secretary, Allegra Stratton, jokes about a fictitious Christmas party in Downing Street.
He does it during a mock press conference. At one point during the rehearsal, a member of the team asks him: “I have seen reports on Twitter that there was a Christmas party in Downing Street on Friday night. Do you recognize this information?”
After that, Stratton begins to laugh and explains, “I went home. What was the answer? Cheese and wine is fine.” Later, he claims that the party was actually a work meeting where “there was no social distance“.
Boris Johnson is asked to resign
These statements have sparked criticism from opposition groups who have held the British prime minister accountable. The leader of the SNP Westminster group, Ian Blackford, has asked Johnson to resign from his post, while the spokesman for the Labor opposition Keit Starmer has stressed that “the prime minister must be clear about what happened and publicly ask for forgiveness. Lie and laugh about the lies it’s somewhat embarrassing“.
However, the British president has denied holding any party in Downing Street and has made it clear that if there was any meeting “the orientation was followed at all times.”
However, he has ordered an internal investigation and has promised “disciplinary sanctions if found guilty“.