Leaked 2020 COVID Christmas party video prompts calls for British PM Johnson’s resignation

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing demands that he resign following the circulation of a leaked video showing one of his advisors joking about a government staff Christmas party that took place at the height of 2020 COVID lockdowns. Johnson has denied knowing about the party while paradoxically asserting that COVID protocols were not breached. He has also promised to investigate the matter. 

The clip, broadcast by ITV News, shows a “mock” press conference in which one of Johnson’s advisors asks spokesperson Allegra Stratton about the party. Stratton, standing at a lectern, appears to laugh before replying, “I went home.” The advisor then asked, “Would the prime minister condone having a Christmas party?” Stratton again laughs and asks, “What’s the answer?”

The now widely-circulated video prompted outrage along with calls for the Prime Minister to step down. 

I guess, if you were told you couldn’t hold your Mum’s hand as she died, you’d find this less funny than Downing Street does,” tweeted Good Law Project Director and Durham Law School professor Jo Maugham.

“As A&E waiting times hit record highs during the latest surge in COVID infections, those at the very top of government are no longer trusted to lead us through it, due to their repeated rule breaking,” said Naomi Smith, CEO of cross-party activist group Best for Britain in a tweet.

Within 20 hours of the leak, Stratton resigned, acknowledging the “anger and frustration” felt by the public who were prohibited from gathering amid the pandemic restrictions.

Johnson has not denied the allegation that he and his Downing Street staff held parties on Nov. 27 and Dec. 18, during which time London was under Tier 3 restrictions banning social gatherings larger than “a single household bubble,” while at the same time stating that no COVID protocols were breached, according to Britain’s Daily Mirror

An unnamed source described both parties as having “40 or 50” guests crowded “cheek by jowl.” They stated, “It was a COVID nightmare.” The source alleges that additional gatherings took place during the lockdown.

The scandal coincides with a recent recommendation by British health chief Dr. Jenni Harries that people restrict socializing over the Christmas holidays to combat a possible surge in the virus.

According to the Daily Mail, Labour party MPs Neil Coyle and Barry Gardiner have called for an investigation by Scotland Yard into the party allegations. The Metropolitan Police said that while investigators did not typically look into “retrospective” violations of COVID restrictions, it would consider the request. 

Citing the Omicron variant, Johnson, who narrowly survived his own bout with the virus last year, announced his “Plan B” COVID protocols Wednesday, which include a requirement that face masks be worn at public venues, along with mandatory vaccine pass requirements in some locations, such as sporting events and nightclubs. Johnson is also encouraging people to work from home. 

A Savanta ComRes snap poll conducted last week shows 81 percent of Britons agree with the statement “There is one rule for the government and one rule for everyone else,” while 54 percent say Johnson should resign.