Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken some time off for paternity leave after the birth of his daughter, his second child with his wife Carrie, and his seventh child overall.
This follows the worst two weeks ever seen in recent Parliament history. Voice of London is here to break it down.
Tuesday 30th November 2021
The Daily Mirror posted an exclusive article stating: “The Prime Minister gave a speech at a packed leaving do for a top aide last November when the country was in the grip of its second lockdown.”
It got worse because the article goes on to state how Downing Street held its own party with “40 or 50 people crammed…into a medium-sized room” whilst London was in Tier 3 lockdown just before Christmas. Tier 3 restrictions meant that there were “no mixing of households indoors, or most outdoor places, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six
in some outdoor public spaces”, according to official government guidelines.
Over the next few days, more newspapers picked up on the story.
Sunday 5th December 2021
The Guardian reports that deputy prime minister Dominic Raab “has become the first cabinet minister” to speak out about the Downing Street party allegations. He said: “If anyone held a party contrary to the rules, of course, that is the wrong thing to do. If something unsubstantiated from anonymous sources actually materialised, then, of course, it would be wrong.”
Tuesday 7th December 2021
In an interview with reporters, Johnson states that there was no party held in Downing Street. However, that evening, ITV News’s opener was a video of Johnson’s then spokesperson Allerga Stratton laughing about the “fictional party”, alongside other Downing Street aids. She said that “there was no social distancing.”
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Stratton resigned on 8th December, saying that she would “”regret the remarks for the rest of [her] days”, in a statement.
During Prime Minster’s Questions, Johnson insisted that “there was no party.” He then goes on to say that he was “furious” about the clip of Stratton mocking the party and he “apologised unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country.” He further emphasised how there was no party and how no Covid rules were broken.
Thursday 9th December 2021
Johnson announced the happy news that his wife, Carrie, gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
The Times reported that Johnson will take some time off for paternity leave. However, this raised “questions over the chain of command in No 10” as Raab is self-isolating after coming in contact with a positive Covid case. The Times said: “Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is third in the chain of command in Downing Street.” They added that the spokesperson said: “You can expect the prime minister to take some time with his family. Obviously, as ever, he needs to balance that with his responsibilities as prime minister in leading the country, which he will continue to do.”
The Metropolitan Police have stated that they are not going to investigate. According to BBC News, this is due to “lack of evidence.”
Voice of London will update you on any more news about this story.
Words: Katie Bird
Subedited by Jessica Sanches Semedo