Downing Street party: Allegra Stratton resigns over leaked footage amid Downing Street party scandal

Allegra Stratton has resigned after leaked footage saw her and her colleagues joking about an alleged party which took place on Downing Street last winter, during strict Covid restrictions. (Credit: Getty) Allegra Stratton has resigned after leaked footage saw her and her colleagues joking about an alleged party which took place on Downing Street last winter, during strict Covid restrictions. (Credit: Getty)
Allegra Stratton has resigned after leaked footage saw her and her colleagues joking about an alleged party which took place on Downing Street last winter, during strict Covid restrictions. (Credit: Getty) | Getty Images

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Stratton had been seen joking about an alleged party which took place in Downing Street in leaked footage of a mock media briefing

Allegra Stratton, an advisor to Boris Johnson, has resigned from her post following the fallout of the Downing Street party scandal.

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The Prime Minister had lamented that no such party had taken place at the address after details were revealed to the media last week, however Mr Johnson has today said that an investigation into the alleged party will take place.

The damning footage has now caused Ms Stratton, Johnson’s then-press secretary and his current spokeswoman, to resign from her post.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • It had been alleged last week that Downing Street had hosted at least two Christmas parties, one on 18 December 2020, while London was was under strict tier three Covid restrictions which saw mixing of households forbidden
  • Boris Johnson and several other Tory MPs remained under pressure and continued to deny that any gatherings took place at Number 10
  • Details continued to emerge in the media, with footage leaked to ITV showing Ms Stratton joking about how to handle questions of a festive gathering which appears to have been recorded during a rehearsal media Covid briefing on 22 December 2020, four days after the alleged party
  • At PMQs on Wednesday, Mr Johnson reiterated that he was assured that “no rules were broken”, but also announced that the Cabinet Secretary would conduct an investigation into whether the party took place
  • As a result of the scandal, Ms Stratton resigned from her post as a senior aide and spokeswoman for Mr Johnson

What did Allegra Stratton say in her resignation speech?

Ms Stratton resigned from her post as Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman and senior aide in a teary apology speech outside her North London home.

She offered her “profound apologies” for any offence caused by the footage, saying: “My remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey.

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“That was never my intention. I will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and I offer my profound apologies to all of you at home for them.

“Working in government is an immense privilege.

“I tried to do right by you all, to behave with civility and decency and up to the high standards you expect of Number 10.”

Ms Stratton said she felt the public’s “anger and frustration” over the footage, adding: “To all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and who struggled with your businesses, I am truly sorry and this afternoon I am offering my resignation to the Prime Minister.”

What has Boris Johnson said about the situation?

The Prime Minister has today (Wednesday 8 December) announced that he has ordered an investigation into the claims that a party was held in Downing Street.

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Speaking at PMQs, Mr Johnson said he was “furious” about the leaked footage which saw Downing Street employees joking about how to answer any questions from the media that may have arisen about a festive gathering that took place last winter.

The footage, which appears to be from 22 December 2020, saw Ms Stratton and other colleagues appear to joke while preparing answers to give to the media.

In the footage, Ms Stratton laughed when asked about a party and said: “This fictional party was a business meeting... and it was not socially distanced.”

Mr Johnson faced a tough morning at PMQs as a result of the scandal.

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He reiterated that he had been told that “no rules were broken” and denied that a party took place.

Mr Johnson said: “I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures, and I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules because I was also furious to see that clip.

“I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives.

“But I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured.”

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The Prime Minister also announced that, despite denying that any party took place, an investigation, led by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, would be conducted into whether a gathering took place at Number 10.

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