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No 10 staff filmed joking about Downing Street Xmas party – cops share statement

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Police could investigate after Downing Street staff appeared to joke about holding a Christmas party in No10 four days after the alleged lockdown-breaching bash is said to have happened last year.

Video footage showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton being grilled about the event in a filmed rehearsal for a TV media briefing in December 2020.

In the clip leaked to ITV News, Ms Stratton desperately searched for suitable responses as the PM’s adviser Ed Oldfield – posing as a journalist – pretended to question her about the party as if details had leaked on Twitter.

One worker joked she should suggest "it was cheese and wine".

Ms Stratton herself said she should say the fictional party was a "business meeting" before adding: "It was not socially distanced.’’

For the past week the PM, senior ministers and No10 have denied any rules were broken on December 18, 2020 when it is alleged up to 50 people attended a Christmas party inside Downing Street.

London was under Tier 3 restrictions at the time meaning social events including parties were banned to combat the spread of Covid.

The Metropolitan Police shut down a wedding attended by "nearly 40 people" the day before.

The party is understood to have been organised via a WhatsApp group with staff asked to bring Secret Santa gifts.

Some attendees wore Christmas jumpers, it's claimed.

After the footage was leaked #whoattendedtheparty began trending on Twitter.

Today (Tuesday) Mr Johnson – who is not said to have attended the Downing Street bash – did not deny a party had taken place when asked but added: "I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.’’

The Metropolitan Police released a statement tonight saying they are "aware of footage obtained by ITV News relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at a Government building in December 2020."

They added: "It is our policy not to routinely investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations, however the footage will form part of our considerations."

Meanwhile, the Department for Education (DfE) has admitted it held a social gathering of staff last December in contravention to coronavirus social distancing rules.

A spokeswoman for the department said: "On December 10 2020 a gathering of colleagues who were already present at the office – and who had worked together throughout the pandemic, as they couldn't work from home – took place in the DfE office building in London at a time when the city was subject to Tier 2 restrictions.

"The gathering was used to thank those staff for their efforts during the pandemic.

"Drinks and snacks were brought by those attending and no outside guests or supporting staff were invited or present.

"While this was work-related, looking back we accept it would have been better not to have gathered in this way at that particular time."

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Ant and Dec also poked fun at the Tory party and Boris Johnson on ITV's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, with Dec exclaiming: "Good evening Prime Minister, for now."

Ant added of campmate David Ginola: "David's reign is over but they [the celebrities] won't celebrate.

"They didn't have a party. They categorically deny any suggestions that they had a party.

"And this fictional 'party' definitely didn't involve cheese and wine or a secret Santa."

Dec chirped in: "Evening Prime Minister… for now," while making a gesture as if to say "we're watching you".

The Metropolitan Police have been contacted for comment.

  • Boris Johnson
  • ITV
  • Twitter
  • Christmas
  • London

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