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UK PM Boris Johnson under fire amid allegations of Christmas party during lockdown

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By Euronews  with AP

British PM Boris Johnson walks past a Christmas tree as he leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly PMQ at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Dec. 1, 2021.


British PM Boris Johnson walks past a Christmas tree as he leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly PMQ at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Dec. 1, 2021.

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Copyright 
Matt Dunham / AP

The Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party has called for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign, following the release of a video showing senior government aides joking about a Christmas party which is alleged to have taken place at 10 No. 10 last year amid coronavirus restrictions.

The UK government has come under fire amid claims that a party was held at No.10 last December at a time when people were banned from socialising indoors with anyone not in their household.

Footage released from a mock press briefing on December 22 last year showed Johnson’s then press secretary, Allegra Stratton, joking with aides about a “fictional party”.

She was asked by the special adviser to the Prime Minister, Ed Oldfield, about reports of a “Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night”.

“I went home,” she said whilst appearing to pause to work out her answer.

Oldfield then asked if the Prime Minister would condone staff having a Christmas party to which Stratton replied: “What’s the answer?”

A Downing Street employee could also be heard saying it was a “wine and cheese” event.

“Is cheese and wine alright? It was a business meeting,” Stratton went on to say before adding: “This is recorded. This fictional party was a business meeting… and it was not socially distanced.”

Britain’s opposition Labour Party wrote to London’s Metropolitan Police asking them to investigate reports that two parties were held at No. 10 Downing Street in the run-up to last Christmas.

The police force said that it was aware of “widespread reporting” of “alleged breaches of health protection regulations” at a government building last November and December.

It said although it did not routinely investigate “retrospective” breaches of COVID-19 regulations, it was considering the complaints.

‘The party is over’

“It really isn’t acceptable,” the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said in response to the video. “Here we have No. 10, a government in London, breaching its own COVID rules and then joking about it on a video.”

Blackford called for an investigation into the allegations and for the police to look into the alleged breach of coronavirus rules.

“On the basis of this behaviour, because it’s not just about this, it fits a pattern of a Prime Minister who repeatedly lies, a Prime Minister that can’t be trusted, he should go and he should go now,” he added.

UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer also called on Johnson to “step up” and apologise. “Unfortunately, we’ve got a prime minister who is socially distanced from the truth,” Starmer said.

Downing Street has denied a Christmas Party was held and Johnson has insisted no rules were broken.

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