Why the Downing Street Christmas Party is so utterly heartbreaking

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  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
  • Allegra Stratton
    British political aide, writer, and former journalist
Photo credit: LEON NEAL - Getty Images
Photo credit: LEON NEAL - Getty Images

If you've tuned into the news in the last 24 hours, or hopped onto Twitter at all, then you'll know the big topic of conversation is the newly leaked video of Tory politician Jacob Rees-Mogg delivering a 'hilarious' speech during what looks like the government's Christmas party last year (something that Boris Johnson has denied ever took place).

Despite this, the video (obtained by ITV) seems to show that a Downing Street Christmas party did take place (allegedly on 18 December) – whilst the rest of the nation were duly following strict Covid-related guidelines, were separated from loved ones (including those reaching the end of their lives) and were certainly not having a jolly old knees up with their colleagues. Quite the kick in the teeth, no?

In the video, Rees-Mogg makes jokes about how the packed crowd clearly aren't following social distancing measures like the rest of the general public, earning quite the laugh from his Tory chums. Somebody can also be heard coughing in the video too, which is really nice.

Rees-Mogg then seemingly brags about how the party wouldn't be "investigated by police in a year's time" either, very much indicating that those in power believe it's one rule for them and another for everybody else:

A further video was also shared online, showing Allegra Stratton (Prime Minister Boris Johnson's then-press secretary) and Ed Oldfield, special advisor to the PM, taking part in a mock press conference four days after the alleged party took place.

In this equally rage-inducing clip, Oldfield asks Stratton about "a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night" and she in response laughs and says that she wouldn't know as she went home.

"This is recorded … This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced," she then adds.

In response to all this, people are now sharing their heartbreaking stories of what they were doing instead whilst the Tories had their cheese, wine and nibbles, and (presumably) congratulated one another on being self-important.

"5 days after the #downingstreetparty someone I loved passed away in hospital. We weren't with her because of Covid rules. I didn't get to say my final goodbye. I am angry. I'm hurt. I'm tired," one person shared.

Another added, "#downingstreetparty my mother in law spent the last three months of her life alone in hospital. We followed the rules at her funeral... 9 of us socially distancing. She was worth a 100 of them. She was a person who was honest, decent, caring, ever thoughtful of others. I hate them."

A third wrote, "Dear Allegra Stratton, On the day you had your #downingstreetparty, my Mum was alone with no visitors. On you day you were videoed laughing, she was all alone. On Christmas Day she was alone. She's now dead. It was her last Christmas. It is NOT funny."

Adding to the heartbreak, a further shared that their grandmother had died alone and that they hadn't been able to attend her funeral. "When I think that my Grandma died with none of us able to properly visit her and that I didn’t go to her funeral to follow the rules. That I had to cancel my Christmas plans and leave mum in tears to follow the rules. And these absolute fuckers were partying & laughing about it."

Others, including Labour MP Nadia Whittome, have questioned why the police (who would have been surrounding Downing Street at the time) didn't investigate this alleged violation of Covid rules.

"I’ve written to Cressida Dick to ask why police officers on duty during the #DowningStreetParty did not report this breach and enforce COVID regulations," Whittome shared earlier today. "Boris Johnson is lying. While communities like mine were aggressively policed, the establishment were let off the hook."

In today's PMQs, Boris Johnson apologised for the video of his staff "making light" of Covid rules, but again stressed that there was no party and that no rules were broken. He added that an enquiry will be launched.

Just something to keep in mind for the next general election...

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