Social media has been alive with reaction after leaked footage left Downing Street claims that there was no Christmas party in tatters.
A video obtained by ITV News shows Boris Johnson’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton being quizzed by special adviser Ed Oldfield on whether they had a party on the night of 18th December.
Mr Oldfield asked her: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”
Ms Stratton replied “I went home” before appearing to consider what the correct answer should be.
During the rehearsal, filmed as part of a subsequently-abandoned plan for Ms Stratton to lead televised press briefings, Mr Oldfield pressed her for an answer.
“Would the Prime Minister condone having a Christmas party?” he asked.
Ms Stratton asked “what’s the answer” and staff in the press room appeared to suggest ideas, with one saying “it wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine”.
“Is cheese and wine alright? It was a business meeting,” Ms Stratton replied, to laughter in the room.
Ms Stratton then noted “this is recorded”, adding: “This fictional party was a business meeting … and it was not socially distanced.”
The leaked footage was shot in the media room at 9 Downing Street, which was refurbished at a cost of £2.6 million in preparation for the televised broadcasts before the plan was ditched.
Here’s a pick of the reaction so far:
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