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What Party? Cabinet Minister Ties Himself In Knots Over No10 Christmas Shindig

Written by on December 9, 2021

Sajid Javid and Allegra Stratton

Sajid Javid tied himself in knots today, saying he was “not quite sure” why a Allegra Stratton resigned amid tearful scenes yesterday. 

The health secretary said he did not know if there had been a party in Downing Street last December but insisted he had been told “no rules were broken”.

Government communications were in chaos this morning amid mounting reports of aides partying during last year’s lockdown.

It comes after Stratton, former press secretary for Boris Johnson, resigned over a leaked video that showed her laughing about a party on December 18. 

The footage and party took place when London was under Tier 3 restrictions – banning mixing between households.

The prime minister has ordered an investigation into the alleged party and apologised for the video

But despite a plethora of reports about the event, a resignation and multiple apologies, ministers still insist they do not know if a party happened. 

Javid told Good Morning Britain: “Honestly I don’t know.”

Labour’s Jon Ashworth hit back saying Javid was a “decent guy” but he was “taking the p**s” with his response. 

He added: “Ministers don’t go on TV without checking lines to take with No10 and discussing how to handle these questions with spads [special advisers]. This lack of honesty is infuriating our constituents.”

In another interview, Javid said he was “not quite sure” why Stratton quit after she was filmed joking with other senior aides over a “fictional” lockdown party. 

Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You ask me why she resigned. Look, I wouldn’t know, I haven’t spoken to her about it.

“Perhaps it was because she was very embarrassed by the video and what happened and the way things looked. It may well be something like that.”

The cabinet minister also insisted to LBC that he had received assurances that “no rules” were broken in Downing Street.

“If the rules were not broken, then a party could not take place,” he added. 

The government is expected to face even more difficult questions after the Times revealed a party was held at Conservative campaign headquarters with their London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey and “at least two dozen party aides and volunteers.”

The paper said it was a “raucous” bash with boozing, Christmas hats, dancing and a damaged door.

A Conservative spokesperson told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “CCHQ staff became aware of an unauthorised social gathering in basement of Matthew Parker Street organised by the Bailey campaign on December 14.

“Formal disciplinary action was taken against four CCHQ staff seconded to the campaign.”


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