Explained: Boris Johnson receives heat over UK Christmas party scandal
Boris Johnson has faced multiple scandals during his tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but this is the most serious yet.Author : Shagun
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his party have been at the receiving end of heat over a viral controversial video. The video shows the PM and his aides joking about a Christmas party at Downing Street during the Covid-19 lockdown last year.
The video has been leaked at a time when the UK might return to covid restriction amid the omicron scare. And Christmas is approaching!
Boris Johnson has apologised in Parliament for the controversial video and claimed no party was held.
“I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives,” said the British Prime Minister.
What is the UK Christmas scandal?
Boris Johnson has faced multiple scandals during his tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but this is the most serious yet.
For the last week, the British Prime Minister has been criticised over allegations that social events were staged within 10 Downing Street in the run-up to Christmas 2020
when the UK was under coronavirus restrictions that prohibited such activities.
The scandal received exponential attention on Tuesday with the release of a video by CNN affiliate ITV News that appears to show Number 10 staff joking about the parties during a rehearsal for broadcast press briefings.
What exactly is the video?
The video in question is a 46-second clip that shows Johnson's former spokesperson Allegra Stratton making a joke about a Christmas party. Stratton can be seen standing on a dais, chatting with Ed Oldfield, the Prime Minister's Special Advisor, and other senior Downing Street staff.
The video, which looks to be a news conference practice, shows Stratton and others joking about a lockdown party that the Conservative administration maintains did not take place. According to media reports, the party was held for staff at No. 10 Downing Street on December 18, last year, and the footage was obtained on December 22, 2020.
The video shows officials gloating at the party's lack of social distancing at a time when most of Britain was under heavy lockdown.
One of the main figures in the video clip, Stratton, has now resigned. She had been the Johnson administration's climate change spokesperson.
While speaking outside her home, Stratton referred to the British's "immense sacrifices" in the fight against Covid-19. "My words appeared to make light of the rules, rules that others were trying everything in their power to follow. It was never my intention to do so. I shall regret those statements for the rest of my life, and I sincerely apologise to all of you," she concluded.
"I understand people's rage and frustration." "I am deeply sorry to all of you who have lost loved ones, faced unbearable loneliness, and struggled with your businesses," she said.
Outrage among common people
The party is alleged to have taken place a week before Christmas. It was a period when many Brits were upset by the stringent restriction on social gatherings.
People in London were fined heavily for taking part in illegal gatherings. The restriction was billed as critical to limiting the spread of Covid-19, which has claimed over 146,000 lives in the United Kingdom.
However, the PM's office has been trying to deny allegations about the party. The office party reportedly included wine and food, as well as games and gift exchanges, at a time when social gatherings were prohibited in the rest of the country.
Furthermore, this is the latest in a long line of accusations pointing to double standards by Conservative government officials in terms of adherence to Covid guidelines.