BBC empty chairs health secretary who quit interviews after leaked Christmas party clip 8 months ago

BBC empty chairs health secretary who quit interviews after leaked Christmas party clip

Has anyone seen the Health Secretary?

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has pulled out of interviews this morning after footage emerged of Number 10 officials joking about a Christmas party in Downing Street last year - when the rest of the country was under strict covid restrictions.

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BBC Radio 4’s Today programme said Javid was scheduled for interview on Wednesday morning but cancelled yesterday evening, after the footage emerged.

Presenter Nick Robinson said: “We were expecting to speak to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid this morning but we were told just a few minutes after that video emerged that no minister would be available to speak on the programme today.”

BBC Breakfast have also reported a missing minister.

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In the wake of the leaked footage, the prime minister's position has been described as "untenable."

While some were forced to exchange gifts in petrol stations and others were denied in-person goodbyes to dying loved ones, the people in charge partied with cheese, wine and Secret Santa inside Downing Street.

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The leaked footage published by ITV News last night, revealed the prime minister's senior aides Ed Oldfield and Allegra Stratton, laughing in a press briefing rehearsal about a Christmas party held at Downing Street in 2020.

The state of the art £2.6 million briefing centre had previously been labelled a colossal waste of money, having failed to produce any news in the last year or so - until now.

In the clip, the two are seen joking about a "cheese and wine" evening at a time when social gatherings were outlawed in London, which had been placed under Tier 3 restrictions to control the rapidly rising covid-19 numbers.

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Stratton had been set to deliver White House-style televised press briefings as the Prime Minister's news spokeswoman. The idea has been subsequently canned.

The day before the alleged party took place, the official UK government Twitter account told a man he must not have a work Christmas lunch or party.

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Later today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to face questions from leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs.

It's likely the PM will face even tougher questioning from his own backbenchers.

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale has said the controversy had "all the hallmarks of another Barnard Castle moment", while fellow Conservative Charles Walker said: "The No 10 party means that any future lockdowns will be advisory, whatever the law says".

Former spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell has told Sky News: "This is all driven by the fact we have a liar as a Prime Minister

"To these people it's all a game.

"What sometimes happens is that - it happened a little bit with Dominic Cummings and Barnard Castle and I think it's happening with this - the real character of the government comes through and there comes a point where the public frankly are sick of it".

Labour leader Starmer has described the prime minister as being "socially distanced from the truth."

PoliticsJOE will broadcast PMQs in full, from 12pm today.

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