Tories break ranks to condemn alleged No 10 Christmas party

The Prime Minister is facing increasing hostility from his own party in light of claims Downing Street staff broke lockdown rules by holding a Christmas gathering last year.

Several Tory backbenchers, along with the former Scottish Conservatives leader, Ruth Davidson, have expressed concerns over the affair – arguing that the allegations, if true, are “unacceptable” and “indefensible”.

Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that he was “furious” at footage showing aides joking about festive celebrations in December 2020, and apologised “unreservedly” for the offence caused.

But he insisted he had been repeatedly assured “there was no party and no Covid rules were broken”.

Mr Johnson said he had asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case “to establish all the facts and to report back as soon as possible – and it goes without saying that if those rules were broken then there will be disciplinary action for all those involved”.

He has since been hit with a stinging rebuke from Ms Davidson, with which she branded the promise of an investigation after a week of denial as “pathetic”, and claimed “colleagues are furious at this, too”.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

Ms Davidson tweeted: “None of this is remotely defensible. Not having busy, boozy not-parties while others were sticking to the rules, unable to visit ill or dying loved ones.

“Nor flat-out denying things that are easily provable. Not taking the public for fools.

“And today’s ‘we’ll investigate what we’ve spent a week saying didn’t happen and discipline staff for rules we continue to say weren’t broken’ was pathetic. As a Tory, I was brought up to believe in playing with a straight bat. Believe me, colleagues are furious at this, too.”

The Prime Minister is also fielding criticism from several Tory backbenchers.

Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet in Kent, said it was worrying that Mr Johnson did not appear to know what was happening in Downing Street.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme that the PM had been “blindsided by information he was given” regarding the alleged party.

“It’s worrying, isn’t it, that the man at the top of the tree doesn’t appear to know what’s going on in his own building two floors below him – I find that of concern,” he said.

He added: “I don’t find it particularly attractive that the Prime Minister doesn’t know what’s going on in No 10 Downing Street, or doesn’t ask the right questions of his senior staff to find out what’s been going on in Downing Street, if something wrong has been going on. That’s worrying in itself.”

But in Mr Johnson’s defence, Sir Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, said he did not think the Prime Minister could be expected to “patrol every corridor and room in No 10”.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said in a statement issued on Twitter that it had “become clear” that rules may have been broken.

He said this was “clearly unacceptable” and that Mr Johnson was “absolutely right to apologise” and to ask the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the matter.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, also said the leaked footage gave him “great concern” – and that, if there had been a party in No 10, that would be indefensible.

“Like many constituents, I am extremely upset at the lack of respect and dignity that people working in the very heart of Government, who were supposedly leading the country, showed,” he said.

“It signals such an utter lack of responsibility, whilst people throughout the country were abiding by the rules and sacrificing so much. I have previously spoken out against breaches of the rules and integrity. Trust in public life matters.

“Whilst we are still told there was no Christmas party, the leaked press studio footage gives me great concern.”

He added: “There has been no proper explanation, or any effort to show understanding to how this sort of behaviour lacks empathy to how many people feel. I welcome an investigation; we need a clear answer on what went on once and for all.

“If there was a Christmas Party in Downing Street, that is indefensible and I expect full accountability to follow.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

Asked for her position on the matter on Wednesday morning, Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot in Devon, said on Twitter: “Clearly there were rules in place that most of us were diligently following (despite how difficult they were) and they decided to break them.

“It’s not on and, at the very least, they should admit their blatant error and apologise for breaking the rules they imposed on society.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

And the Tory peer and former Conservative Party chairwoman, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, said all those present at any party should quit.

Meanwhile, at Prime Minister’s Questions, senior Tory William Wragg challenged Mr Johnson about reports that a Cabinet meeting and press conference were planned “to initiate Covid winter Plan B”.

The chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee told the Prime Minister: “Very few will be convinced by this diversionary tactic.”

In the footage obtained by ITV News that has sparked furore from across the political spectrum, the PM’s then-spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton, and adviser Ed Oldfield, along with other aides, are seen to be joking about a “fictional” Downing Street party.

Mr Oldfield can be heard asking Ms Stratton: “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 replied “I went home”, before appearing to consider what the correct answer should be.

During the rehearsal, filmed as part of a subsequently abandoned plan for Ms Stratton to lead televised press briefings, one aide is heard saying: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.”

“Is cheese and wine all right? It was a business meeting,” Ms Stratton replied, to laughter in the room.

Ms Stratton then noted “this is recorded”, adding: “This fictional party was a business meeting… and it was not socially distanced.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed officers were reviewing the leaked video in relation to “alleged breaches” of coronavirus regulations.

A former Tory minister told the PA news agency that he expected the Cabinet Secretary’s probe into what occurred on December 18 to be able to delve into Downing Street surveillance footage.

“Like Watergate, the evidence – in this case CCTV and who was on the invite list that the police hold at the No 10 gate – will be out there,” he said.

In a sign of further potential difficulties for Mr Johnson, his former aide Dominic Cummings – who has become a prominent critic – suggested Mr Case’s investigation should look at parties in the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat.

Mr Cummings tweeted: “Will the CABSEC also be asked to investigate the *flat* party on Fri 13 Nov, the other flat parties, & the flat’s ‘bubble’ policy…?”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

Downing Street said Mr Case’s investigation would only look at events related to the December 18 event, rather than the November 13 “flat party” Mr Cummings referred to.

News Related


Six stand trial for spectacular German museum jewel heist

Six members of a notorious criminal gang go on trial in Germany on Friday over a spectacular heist in which 18th-century jewels were snatched from a state museum in Dresden. ... Read more »

Federal judge cancel oil and gas leases in Gulf of Mexico citing climate crisis

A federal judge on Thursday invalidated a massive oil and gas lease for 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico after a coalition of environmental groups sued the Biden ... Read more »

US Supreme Court clears way for execution of Alabama inmate

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for the state of Alabama to execute an inmate who contends an intellectual disability combined with the state’s ... Read more »

Kumpulan pengguna alu-alukan langkah pecah monopoli Touch ‘n Go

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Menteri Kerja Raya Fadillah Yusof berkata, penggunaan penyedia bayaran tol lain akan dibenarkan sebaik sahaja syarikat konsesi lebuh raya bersedia dan apabila penembusan RFID ... Read more »

AEON, Grab berganding tawar pilihan e-dompet lebih berbaloi

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today AEON Co (M) Bhd dengan kerjasama Grab Malaysia menggalakkan pembayaran nirtunai menerusi e-dompet GrabPay. PETALING JAYA: Permintaan tinggi terhadap pembayaran nirtunai ketika pandemik Covid-19 ... Read more »

Where to find Piplup in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

© Provided by Dot Esports As players begin their adventures in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, they will quickly discover that the starter Pokémon options have changed vastly from Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, ... Read more »

What are Merit Points and what do they do in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

© Provided by GamePur Besides the typical Pokémon Dollars you can spend at general stores and base camps, Pokémon Legends: Arceus introduces a second currency known as Merit Points that ... Read more »

Barnard Castle: Site made famous by Dominic Cummings among 'hidden gems' Britons rediscovered during pandemic

English Heritage says its "more intimate local sites" have often been overlooked - but the pandemic appears to persuaded more people to check them out. Read more »

2022 Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers: USA 1-0 El Salvador - A whiff of lightsaber delivers three points

© Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images The USA entered the penultimate round of World Cup qualifiers with hopes of getting nine out of nine points no matter the weather conditions ... Read more »

The best cards from day 1 of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty spoiler season

© Provided by Dot Esports Day one of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty spoilers is a wrap and there are plenty of new mechanics and cards to get the hype train rolling ... Read more »

O'Toole promises change after internal report into Conservative's election loss

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says changes will be made to his team and to the party after an internal review revealed what went wrong in the recent election ... Read more »

Burkina Faso: Military junta commits to restoring 'constitutional order'

© Provided by DW Burkina Faso’s new military leader says constitutional order will be restored “when conditions are right” The new military leader of Burkina Faso said he would restore ... Read more »

Ankit Bathla To Play A Double Role In &TV's ‘Ghar Ek Mandir Kripa Agrasen Maharaja Ki'

© Provided by Lehren Ankit Bathla To Play A Double Role In &TV’s ‘Ghar Ek Mandir Kripa Agrasen Maharaja Ki’ After winning viewers over with his bad-boy character as Siddhant ... Read more »

Watch out Nicole! Dolly Parton reveals Keith Urban is her dream duet partner as he's one of the 'most talented and cutest guys' - but insists she's 'not trying to hit on him'

American music legend Dolly Parton has revealed she’s got her eyes on Kiwi rocker Keith Urban – but strictly for a duet and maybe even a baking session.  The age-defying ... Read more »

Samantha Ruth Prabhu falls while skiing in Switzerland – Watch VIRAL video

© Provided by DNA Samantha Ruth Prabhu is currently in Switzerland having the time of her life. The actress recently shared a video of herself falling while trying to ski ... Read more »

Nicki Minaj's husband Kenneth Petty accused of PUNCHING a security guard and breaking his jaw in new lawsuit... and filing claims Nicki threw her SHOE at him

Minaj, 39, and Petty, 43, are being sued by security guard Thomas Weidenmuller Weidenmuller was head of security at Nicki's concert in Germany in March 2019 He claims that Minaj threw her shoe at him after yelling at another guardAfter he confronted the rapper, he alleges that her husband sucker punched himWeidenmuller says his jaw was broken from the alleged attack He claimed he had eight operations on his jaw and will require several more  Read more »

Philadelphia teenager, 17, is fatally shot in the chest while walking out of his high school - the 39th homicide in the city this year

Philadelphia teenager Christopher Braxton, 17, was shot twice after he walked out of Bartram High School on Wednesday afternoonAn unidentified gunman opened fire on Braxton and shot him in the chest while on the 2300 block of South 66th Street at around 3pm He was later transferred to a local hospital where he was pronounced deadPolice have yet to identify any suspects involved in the shooting and are currently investigating the motive for the incidentThis shooting comes after Philadelphia reported its 39th homicide for this year after seeing a violent 2021 with 562 city residents killed Read more »

Lauren Jauregui: Women are always being asked to prove themselves

© Bang Showbiz Lauren Jauregui has hit out at a perceived injustice Lauren Jauregui thinks female artists are asked to “provide constant proof” of their talent. The 25-year-old singer – ... Read more »

James Bay admits to 'losing himself' on tour

© Bang Showbiz James Bay has confessed to losing himself in 2019 James Bay “lost [himself]” on tour in 2019. The 31-year-old singer went on tour with Ed Sheeran three ... Read more »

Filmy Friday: When Sohail Khan took a royal dig at Hrithik Roshan, 'Even if he works for 10 years, he won't be able to do what Nawazuddin Siddiqui does'

© Provided by There was a time when Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan were not on good terms with each other. Once friends then enemies, Salman and Hrithik’s friendship ... Read more »

Kevin Durant named All-Star captain for second straight year

Kevin Durant may not actually play in the game, but for the 12th time, he is an All-Star — and for the second time, a captain. The Nets forward, who ... Read more »

Teammates say they are uncomfortable changing in locker room with trans UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas

University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas apparently shows off his male genitalia in the locker room, according to a teammate. Hunter Martin/Getty Images A member of the University of ... Read more »

Teenager, 18, is charged with racially aggravated ABH after two Jewish shop owners were beaten up on London street as Boris Johnson calls attack 'despicable'

Malaki Thorpe, 18, of Tottenham, north London, has been charged with two counts of racially aggravated ABHTwo Jewish shop owners were assaulted in Cadoxton Avenue, Haringey, on Wednesday night, Met Police saidThorpe was also charged with possessing an offensive weapon, and is due to appear in court on Friday Read more »

'Shambles' as hunt for Ofcom boss is re-run with deadline for applications extended

Tory MP Julian Knight said the Ofcom recruitment process as 'a shambles' The regulator's role has been vacant since Lord Burns ended his term of office Ministers have again extended the deadline for applications for the role   Read more »

Two post offices are shut a week and service to customers is at 'breaking point', watchdog warns

Two post offices a week have been closed during the past two years Citizens Advice have warned that it will leave vulnerable people without access to vital services like paying their utility bills by mail Read more »

'Green corridors' will bring cities closer to the countryside by improving access to rural areas, National Trust bosses say

New scheme aims to ‘improve access to nature for those in urban areas' Footpaths will run through fields that will be planted with trees and hedgerows The National Trust plans to create 20 green corridors by 2030 Read more »

Fresh setback for students as 50,000 university lecturers plan strike over pay and conditions

University students face strike action between February 14 and March 2The dispute involves a row over pensions, pay and working conditions The University College Union said the strikes will be called off with a pay rise   Read more »

THREE FEET of snow is expected to fall on New England this weekend as nor'easter blasts the East Coast as forecasters warn travel chaos is likely: New Yorkers could see up to 12 inches of snowfall

A major winter storm is set to slam the Northeast on Saturday, bringing intense snowfall, powerful winds and coastal flooding to the east coast The heaviest snowfall is expected farther up north in Boston and New England, which will be 'clobbered' with as much as two feet of snowSome areas of New England could see as much as three feet The storm, which will develop off the coast of the Carolinas late this week, could potentially strengthen as it moves along the East Coast into a bomb cyclone NYC could get anywhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow, and parts of eastern Long Island may see up to 18 inches before the storm leaves the region  Read more »

IMD Alert! Cold wave to continue for another week across India

© Provided by DNA As the month of January comes to an end, the cold wave still seems to continue in many parts of the country and it will continue ... Read more »

Only Fools and Horses star Patrick Murray says woke BBC would wreck a reboot: Mickey Pearce actor fears word 'plonker' could be axed because viewers would find it 'offensive'

Only Fools And Horses star Patrick Murray revealed he would love to play Mickey Pearce again, but said he fears jokes would be axed due to 'wokery' The actor, admitted the 'ridiculous woke thing' could destroy the series by banning the use of the show's most iconic catchphrasesHe predicted that the word 'plonker' could be banned from the iconic show, despite being one of the series' most famous insults Murray is best known for his role as Trilby loving wide-boy Mickey Pearce in BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, a role that defined his career  Read more »

Kim Kardashian And Pete Davidson Spotted Attending Jeff Bezos's Dinner Party

© Provided by Lehren Kim Kardashian And Pete Davidson Spotted Attending Jeff Bezos’s Dinner Party Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson are not shy of their relationship anymore and they’re making ... Read more »

US issues warning over Russian 'dirty money' in the UK: Diplomats fear financial sanctions won't work against Putin if he invades Ukraine because of the illicit cash from his oligarch allies that is 'entrenched' in London

US diplomats are said to be worried sanctions on Russia would be ineffectiveA source in Washington said the UK has allowed in too much Russian wealthThey said sanctions imposed on Russia would be merely 'symbolic' as a resultEarlier this week MPs accused Boris Johnson of killing off an economic crime billA parliamentary committee report in 2020 said London has long been used was as a 'laundromat' for Russian oligarchs' moneyIt comes amid soaring tensions over Ukraine with many NATO countries sending arms to eastern Europe and promising harsh penalties for a Russian invasion  Read more »

Elderly motorist, 84, is pulled over for having no licence after driving without one since the the age of 12

Police in Nottingham found a pensioner who drove without a licence for 70 yearsThe man was born in 1938 and admitted he had driven illegally since age of 12His car was flagged by automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) camerasNottinghamshire Police officers said: 'We can’t quite believe what happened''Thankfully he had never had an accident or caused anyone an injury' Read more »

E-scooters could make a sound like a tuba to warn pedestrians of their presence and slash the risk of accidents, researchers say

E-scooters could be fitted with speakers with a ‘tuba-like’ sound to warn peopleThe vehicles currently make a whirring noise not loud enough for pedestriansFirms TIER, Lime and Dott are working with experts at University College LondonTIER promises to use the finalised sound and make it available to other firms  Read more »

How sweet! Street bollards made from sugar cane are latest weapon in war on pollution

New street bollards made of sugar cane could be installed on Britain's roads The £150 barriers are cheaper and lighter and produce less CO2 than concrete The bollards are made from a plant-based plastic derived from the sugar cane Read more »

Horoscope Today, January 28, Friday: Libra Should Strike a Work-Life Balance, Pisces Might Make Few Wrong Decisions

© Anjali Thakur | Pandit Jagannath Guruji Horoscope Today Horoscope Today, January 28, Friday: All of us want to begin our day on a super energetic note, or with a ... Read more »

Indian Family Found Dead Near US-Canada Border Identified, Young Girl and Infant Among Victims

© Provided by News18 Indian Family Found Dead Near US-Canada Border Identified, Young Girl and Infant Among Victims A week after their bodies were found frozen near the Canada/US border, ... Read more »

U.S., Taiwanese vice presidents speak at rare encounter in Honduras

© Reuters/POOL U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris talks to reporters in Palmerola By Trevor Hunnicutt and Gustavo Palencia TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – The U.S. and Taiwanese vice presidents had a brief ... Read more »

Rihanna and ASAP Rocky are 'inseparable'

© Bang Showbiz Rihanna is in a good place with ASAP Rocky Rihanna and ASAP Rocky are closer than ever. The 33-year-old singer and the rap star – who have ... Read more »

Wayne Phillips on the mental-health struggles that curtailed his career: 'I was vomiting during games'

© Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images “We didn’t know about mental health in those days, so I didn’t say a word,” Wayne Phillips says about his troubled mid-’80s career ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic