With the party season about to start in full swing, stories of a No. 10 Christmas event on 18 December 2020 at the height of lockdown has raised questions about the Prime Minister’s grip on ensuring rules are followed by his office.
At the time of the alleged party, Tier 3 restrictions were in place which meant no Christmas work lunches or parties that were primarily a social activity.
All indoor social get togethers were banned and there was a six person limit on outdoor gatherings.
Whilst Health Secretary Sajid Javid has expressed there’s no need to cancel Christmas parties, UK Health Security Agency head Dr Jenny Harries said people should not socialise “when we don’t particularly need to.”
Local MPs have told SWL what their plans are for celebrating this Christmas.
Ben Daniel, administrator for Croydon South Conservative MP Chris Philp’s office confirmed: “We are having a small informal celebration for six people.” but declined to comment further.
Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham Munira Wilson is also celebrating Christmas with a half dozen.
Wilson said: “I have a small team of six. We are planning to have a Christmas lunch locally on 23 December.
“I will continue to monitor the advice from SAGE because we always try to follow the science.”
All other South West London MPs contacted did not reply to a request for comment, except Labour MP for Battersea, Marsha de Cordova.
De Cordova’s communications manager said: “We won’t be commenting.”
Last night, ITV News broke a story with a clip of senior communications advisors practicing a dummy run of the Prime Minister’s press conference which was held at a later date.
The clip showed the then newly hired Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Allegra Stratton laughing at questions posed by Ed Oldfield, the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser.
Ms Stratton alleges laughingly, “It wasn’t a party but a cheese and wine event.”
However, other sources have said it was a cheek by jowl event where secret Santa gifts were unwrapped.
Suggestions of a ‘one rule for the Prime Minister his staff and Conservative MPs and another rule for everyone else’ is not the first time the current government has been accused of this sentiment.
Last year the Prime Minister was criticised for not dealing with Dominic Cummings’ trip from North London to Barnard Castle and the anger from the public that followed.
Whilst everyone else had spent many months following rules, missing birthday parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals and spending time with loved ones, it appeared those rules did not apply to Mr Cummings.
The Prime Minister’s refusal to sack his most senior and dependent upon advisor reinforced the notion of ‘them and us’ which has dogged him for most of his time in office as Prime Minister.
The public will be closely watching what happens next with the Christmas party story.
Photo credit: Arron Hoare, Crown Copyright