Staff at Downing Street joked about a Christmas party being held at Number 10 just days after it is alleged to have taken place last December.
In a clip obtained by ITV, Boris Johnson’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton could be seen laughing as she said there was ‘definitely no social distancing’ and that it was ‘a business meeting’.
The recording is reportedly from 22 December and shows staff preparing for a TV media briefing, which was later scrapped.
In the clip the staff are asking Stratton mock questions to help prepare for talking to the press.
Ed Oldfield, an advisor to Johnson, asks: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”
Stratton replies: “I went home,” she then starts to laugh and appears to have a think about what to say next, telling the room to ‘hold on’.
Oldfield then asks: “Would the prime minister condone having a Christmas party?”
Stratton again laughs, before asking: “What’s the answer?”
At this point, other staff members pipe up in an attempt to help out - one can be heard to say: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.”
Stratton replies back: “Is cheese and wine alright?” she then adds that it was ‘a business meeting’ before saying ‘this is recorded’, but she continues to laugh and then adds: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”
According to the Mirror, a ‘boozy’ party took place at Number 10 on 18 December with ‘around 40 or 50’ people.
A source told the Mirror: “While senior civil servants were urging caution and there was one message to the public, Prime Minister gave the impression that it could be very relaxed in No 10.
“He would either turn a blind eye or on some occasions attend himself while everyone else was in lockdown”.
A Downing Street spokesperson told LADbible: “There was no Christmas party. Covid rules have been followed at all times.”
Previously, the Prime Minister insisted that ‘guidance was followed’.
A spokesperson for the PM said: “There was not a party and the covid rules were followed at all times.”
When asked how they could be sure, the spokesperson said: “It’s simply the case that guidance has been followed at all times.”
After being pushed once more about how they established this, they said: “I don’t need to get into the positions we’ve taken, it’s simply just a statement of fact.”