Staff joke about Downing Street Christmas party during lockdown
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The Deputy Prime Minister reportedly sent an invitation to MPs for the “Justice Christmas Drinks” set to be held on Wednesday night. However, the Lord High Chancellor has been brutally mocked for the invitation as the Prime Minister faces allegations he breached COVID-19 rules last year.
Harry Cole, the Sun’s political editor, tweeted: “This invite circulated by Team Raab has raised some eyebrows this morning on MPs WhatsApps groups…
“Read the room etc…”
The Times’ Diary columnist, Patrick Kidd, said: “Is it being held at Pentonville (prison)?”
Another person, Steve Clarke, wrote on Twitter: “Honestly. Does Mr Raab read the newspapers?”
Pauline added: “What? This should be cancelled immediately.”
Someone else, known as Campaigning for Excluding Groups, tweeted: “Is it his leaving party?”
Hamish MacDonald commented: “If true, Raab is the gift that just keeps giving!”
Others said there was nothing wrong with the invitation as there are currently no restrictions on having a Christmas party.
This comes following a PR disaster for the Conservative Party over their alleged Christmas do last year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced calls to resign after it emerged Downing Street held a Christmas party last year.
At the time, London was subject to tier 2 restrictions, which imposed a ban on social mixing between households.
No 10 initially did not say the reports were inaccurate but said all rules had been followed, before later denying any party had taken place.
The Tory MP text ITV’s Paul Brand: “I’m tired of it. He has to go. Clean sweep. It’s unsustainable.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford also called on Mr Johnson to resign.
He said: “This video is damning and leaves the Prime Minister with a lot to answer for.
“When every individual up and down the country was told to stay at home in order to protect the NHS, the Tories were instead having 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 remove himself from office immediately.”
A senior Tory figure has reportedly said there must be resignations inside Number 10 following leaked footage of Downing Street.
Footage shared by ITV was recorded on December 22 in preparation for Downing Street’s proposed daily media briefings.
Number 10’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton was asked by the Prime Minister’s adviser Ed Oldfield: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports.”
Ms Stratton, a former BBC and ITV journalist, replied: “I went home.”
After Ms Stratton appeared lost for words, Mr Oldfield added: “Would the Prime Minister condone having a Christmas party.”
“What’s the answer?”, a seemingly thrown off Stratton replied.
One Number 10 employee added: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.”
Ms Stratton concluded the clip by acknowledging the rehearsal was being recorded and then by saying: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”
Another video shows House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg addressing the party saying they will not be investigated by the Met Police in a years’ time.
In a video unearthed by political blog Guido Fawkes, Mr Rees-Mogg told the audience on Monday evening: “I see we’re all here obeying regulations aren’t we?”
He continued: “I mean, this party is not going to be investigated by the police in a year’s time. You are all very carefully socially distanced.. we have moved, I am pleased to tell you, from the metric back to the Imperial system: I notice you are all at least two inches away from each other which is, as I understand it, what the regulations require.”
More to follow…
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