Footage shows No.10 staff joking about Christmas party last year
They're literally laughing at you
Leaked footage published by ITV News has revealed No.10 staff laughing in a press briefing rehearsal about a Christmas party held at Downing Street in 2020.
The video shows them joking about a "cheese and wine" evening at a time when gatherings were outlawed while London was placed under Tier 3 restrictions at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Government guidance at the time stated that people "must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity."
Prime minster Boris Johnson's then spokesperson Allegra Stratton mentioned there was "definitely no social distancing."
They’re literally laughing at you pic.twitter.com/rhMex38hXE
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) December 7, 2021
The clip comes from a rehearsal on December 22 2020 for Downing Street's proposed daily TV media briefings before they were abandoned.
In the rehearsal, Ed Oldfield, adviser to the prime minister, asks: "I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?"
Stratton began her response by laughing, adding: "I went home," before a few 'um's and 'ahh's, unable to think of an appropriate answer on the spot.
Oldfield follows up with another question: "Would the prime minister condone having a Christmas party?"
Again, Stratton cannot answer the question, asking her colleagues, "What is the answer?"
Other staff then attempt to help her formulate a response, suggesting she describe the evening as not a party, but "cheese and wine."
Perhaps the most damning moment of the clip follows, as Stratton warns her team that "this is recorded," eventually settling on an answer: "this fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced."
Today (Tuesday 7th December 2021) Boris Johnson did not deny the party taking place but claimed he was "satisfied the guidelines were followed at all times."
'I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times'@BorisJohnson responds to new claims in The Times about an alleged Covid-rule-breaking party in Downing Street last Christmashttps://t.co/yyZ1W7FdLW pic.twitter.com/nH2bPAzKvZ
— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) December 7, 2021