Details of the alleged Christmas party that took place at Downing Street last year have been revealed by insiders of the event – and the gathering was reportedly not the only one.
Leaked footage showed government advisor Allegra Stratton joking about a non-socially distanced gathering that allegedly took place on December 18 last year, at 10 Downing Street.
Since the video emerged, the 41-year-old has resigned and calls have been growing for Boris Johnson, among others, to be held accountable.
While the prime minister has continued to deny the accusations of a gathering, insiders have since spoken out about what has really been going on, and whether other gatherings also took place.
Inside sources told The Times that the gathering began just after 6pm, and saw officials and political advisors gather together in the press office.
In the clip, Stratton herself spoke of the event containing ‘cheese and wine’, and indeed the insiders claimed that attendees shared a cheese board, drank, made speeches and even gave each other gifts as part of a Secret Santa arrangement.
According to the sources, some attendees were even ‘rat-arsed’ by the time the gathering ended, just before 2am.
While the country was under severe coronavirus regulations, with Christmas 2020 having been massively restricted by updated rules, The Times reports that there were as many as six other events took place in governmental buildings.
From Downing Street, to the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), to the Cabinet Office, it is reported that drinking and socialising was frequent within all.
Staff from 10 Downing Street claimed that ‘once a week’ a ‘bottle of wine’ would be opened every Friday for those who were ‘working at their desks in the evening’.
One member said:
People were under immense pressure, everyone had lateral flow tests daily. It was a way of letting off steam.
However, according to another source, the alleged Christmas party on December 18 had been planned in advance.
Days before the event, a WhatsApp message was reportedly sent to party-goers, and an email was also written to follow-up.
A ‘proper spread’ of food, drink, and Secret Santa gift-giving was allegedly organised for members of the press office, who all work on the ground floor in the same room.
Sources noted that while some of Johnson’s media team were invited, the party had not been organised by special political advisers or senior members of staff. They stated, however, that because of the new Christmas restrictions, preparations did involve the most senior members of staff.
However, the party on December 18 was reportedly not the only event that could have potentially broken lockdown rules.
Conservative advisers and officials allegedly took part in a Christmas quiz in the Cabinet Office at Dominic Cummings’ ‘control centre’ at 70 Whitehall. A source claimed that teams were divided into groups of six, Christmas jumpers were worn, and that many stayed late and were drinking.
The quiz was stated as having been ‘entirely virtual’ by sources from No. 10, however they did admit that some quiz participants may have played from their office desks, which are located in communal areas.
A source contradicted the claims of the event being virtual, noting that the quiz was the ‘first time’ they got to meet chief of staff Dan Rosenfield.
Days before the alleged Christmas party, another event is reported as having taken place at CCHQ on December 14, with at least 24 volunteers and aides of the Conservative Party.
The gathering, which took place under Tier Two restrictions that banned indoor mixing, was noted by a source as having gone late into the night, and having involved drinking, dancing, and Christmas hats.
A door was even reportedly wrecked because of how ‘raucous’ it got.
When England was in full lockdown in November, there were allegedly multiple other informal leaving gatherings held by government staff, on November 13 for Lee Cain, and November 27 for Cleo Watson.
On November 13, it is alleged that a party was held at Johnson’s flat by Carrie Johnson.
Christmas parties were also reportedly held at the Department of Education on December 10, with another taking place at the Cabinet Office.
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Topics: News, 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson, Christmas, conservative party, COVID-19, Now, party