Under fire from critics, Boris Johnson on Wednesday (December 8th) announced an internal investigation and apologized after the release of a video which appeared to confirm that a Christmas party had indeed taken place at 10 Downing Street last year. – residence and offices of the British Prime Minister – despite restrictions against Covid-19. When many Britons were deprived of seeing their loved ones at Christmas last year, this « Christmas party » would have, according to the press, gathered about forty people.
Mr. Johnson, who said to himself ” mad “, reaffirmed that he had “Been insured several times” since the beginning of this affair that“There had been no party” and that’“No rule” had not been violated. While some opposition MPs demanded his resignation, he announced an internal investigation and promised ” consequences “ for those who have not followed the rules.
“Cheeses and wines”
Watched by millions, the video shows her then publicist Allegra Stratton, along with colleagues, preparing answers to hypothetical questions from journalists about a Christmas party in Downing Street on December 18. A colleague asks him: “We have seen tweets that there was a Christmas party on Friday night, do you confirm this information? “ Mme Stratton laughs: ” I’m back home “, before responding “Hmm, err, arhh. What is the answer ? “
A colleague then suggests that “It was not a party, but a [soirée] cheese and wine “, before adding: ” No, I’m joking. “ Allegra Stratton then evokes “A business meeting” and adds, jokingly: “This imaginary party was a business meeting, and there was no physical distancing. “
Faced with the political storm, Allegra Stratton presented her resignation, in tears, to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, after apologizing to the British and explaining that she would regret ” all [sa] live these words ”.
“I understand the anger of the whole country when I see the staff of the 10 [Downing Street] seem to take the restrictions lightly, I understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who set the rules have broken them ”, had conceded the Prime Minister during the weekly questioning session in Parliament. “I apologize unreservedly for the offense that [cette vidéo] has chatted all over the country and I apologize for the impression she gives ”Mr Johnson added.
“Heartwarming and shameful”
“The Prime Minister accused of lying”, “A joke in bad taste” : most of the British dailies had the headlines on Wednesday on this affair, which outraged public opinion. The situation sparked the ire of the opposition, with Labor Party leader Keir Starmer denouncing behavior “Shameful”. “The Prime Minister spent the week telling the population that there had been no party”, he told Parliament, and he is now ” caught red-handed “. “Millions of people now think he took them for idiots”Mr. Starmer added.
Even within the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister’s party, anger is brewing. The government must “Answer serious questions. And quick “, tweeted MP Roger Gale. London police are also looking into the matter, reviewing the video in connection with “Alleged violations” rules against Covid-19.
The No.10 party has all the hallmarks of another ‘Barnard Castle’ moment. No.10 clearly has some serious questions to answer. Fast.
These revelations embarrass the government all the more because it could, according to several media, announce a tightening of the restrictions to fight against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. A task rendered ” almost impossible “ through “The events of the last twenty-four hours”, lamented Conservative MP Charles Walker on Times Radio, while the United Kingdom, one of the countries in Europe most affected by the pandemic, with 145,800 dead, now has more than 45,000 daily infections.
The jovial tone used in the video therefore does not pass. “It is heartbreaking and shameful to hear Boris Johnson’s team joke about violating the rules they have laid down”, lamented in a statement an association of families who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
The holding of another party by the former Minister of Education Gavin Williamson, during which about twenty people had gathered on December 10 around a few “Glasses and canapes”, was also recognized by a spokesperson for the ministry.
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Suspicion of Christmas party without sanitary rules: Boris Johnson promises investigation and apologizes