Downing Street party scandal: who is Allegra Stratton?

Allegra Stratton resigned today after she was thrust into the spotlight when a video emerged of her joking about an alleged illegal party at No.10 last year.

The footage shared by ITV shows a mock press conference from 22 December 22 in which Stratton breaks into laughter when asked about the alleged party four days previously.

Prime minister Boris Johnson apologized for the video today, promising an inquiry into events and punishments for those found contravening the strict Covid restrictions in place at the time.

This is not the first time that Stratton has been involved in controversy, notably suggesting people join the Green Party while she represented the Conservatives, and later saying she had no intention of swapping her diesel car for an electric one.

She also encouraged people not to wash their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and, while working for the BBC, an interviewee described being questioned by Stratton about housing benefits as humiliating.

The PM’s former press secretary grew up in Chiswick attending Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith before reading archaeology and anthropology at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

She began her career as a journalist eventually working as a political correspondent for the Guardian before joining the BBC in 2012 as political editor of Newsnight.

The 41-year-old moved on to the role of national editor at ITV in 2016, co-hosting ‘Peston on Sunday’ and landed the position of Director of Strategic Communications under Rishi Sunak.

Sunak was the best man at Stratton’s wedding to James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator, and the couple are reciprocal godparents with the Chancellor.

Stratton is also good friends with Johnson’s wife Carrie Symonds, a fact that helped her get the short-lived post of Downing Street press secretary, the position she held at the time of the leaked footage.

Johnson planned to hold daily televised press briefings in a purpose-built £2.6 million conference room in No.9, but the plans were scrapped in April 2021 and Stratton was transferred to spokesperson for COP26 President Alok Sharma.

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