We’re having the party now, it seems.
Even as we were all discussing whether the controversy over Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat redecoration would eclipse the scandal over the Downing Street Christmas party (or parties), the drip-feed of new information pattered on. There was this:
🚨🚨 | NEW: The No 10 Christmas party was planned 3 weeks prior to the event with WhatsApp invitations sent out while the UK was in FULL LOCKDOWN
— Politics For All (@PoliticsForAlI) December 10, 2021
And there was this:
— Cold War Steve (@Coldwar_Steve) December 10, 2021
(I included the image because it’s both funny and vile in equal measure.)
And then there’s this, which actually blends both of the above:
Boris Johnson was tonight accused of personally breaking Covid laws by hosting a Christmas quiz in No10 last year.
It was December 15 – three days before a gathering now being probed – and the PM was flanked by two members of his top team, although they were not drinking. One was wearing a Santa hat and the other draped in tinsel.
London was then under Tier 2 regulations banning any social mixing between households – which Mr Johnson appeared to have breached by mixing with the aides.
Official guidance also stated: “You must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier.”
The Mirror understands staff were invited to the virtual quiz, raising funds for charity, a couple of weeks earlier.
Our source claimed dozens signed up to take part online but that at 6.30pm on the day many staff decided to take part from No10 instead.
[The] source said many staff huddled by computers, conferring on questions and knocking back fizz, wine and beer from a local Tesco Metro.
In one office, the insider said, there were four teams, each made up of six people.
Sources said the quiz finished at around 9pm, but staff stayed on for two hours or so drinking and chatting. Most stayed in their offices, but a few allegedly moved around the building to mingle with colleagues in a further apparent breach of the rules.
A Downing Street spokesman has tried to whitewash the new revelation by saying it was only a “virtual” quiz – but that doesn’t get Johnson off the hook of breaking Covid-19 regulations that were in place at the time.
Nor does the claim that Downing Street staff were there because they were working late – they could either work or take part in the quiz and it seems clear that they were engaged in the social activity instead. Whether they attended virtually, from their desks, is irrelevant if there were six people clustered around each desk.
Of course, it’s possible the spokesman could have been at that gathering himself, in which case we don’t have any reason to trust what he says.
And some of us thought this was bad:
And just to add a further twist, he – Jack Doyle – reportedly offered to resign but Downing Street says he didn't. You can see the problem here. https://t.co/kPn1kF2Duh
— Matthew Stadlen (@MatthewStadlen) December 10, 2021
Or, indeed, this:
It’s seems barely an hour now passes without new evidence and revelations coming to light on the Downing Street Christmas parties yet the Met is still unable to find any evidence itself https://t.co/GsZ1ePiNtF
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) December 10, 2021
One has to question whether the Met Police will have enough evidence to investigate now. I’m guessing the answer will still be no because “We don’t investigate retrospective breaches” – even though breaches by the prime minister should be an exception to any such guideline because of the poor example it sets and the consequent risk to public health.
The Met is already facing possible legal action over its refusal to shift its collective posterior, anyway:
The Good Law Project has written to the Metropolitan Police threatening legal action for its continued refusal to investigate Downing Street for holding parties during lockdown. pic.twitter.com/Tq3DS83eLB
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) December 10, 2021
And at the back of all this, but ever-present in the minds of Tory MPs (one would hope) is the fact that the Conservative Party is creeping lower and lower in the national opinion polls…
Westminster Voting Intention:
Via @focaldataHQ, 9-10 Dec.
— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) December 10, 2021
… and Johnson’s personal popularity, already lower than it had ever been, has dropped even further:
🚨 NEW: Johnson's favourability drops to -42:
✅ Favourable 24% (-6)
❌ Unfavourable 66% (+5)
[Net rating of -42]
Meanwhile, Starmer's is also negative:
✅ Favourable 34% (+3)
❌ Unfavourable 48% (+4)
[Net rating of -14]
— Stats for Lefties (@LeftieStats) December 10, 2021
The question now is, how long will the Conservative Party allow its name to be dragged through the mud by a man who, in the words of the former Commons Speaker, “stinks in the nostrils of decent people”?
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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