Boris Johnsons advisor quits over party remarks – as people make same joke

Boris Johnson has apologised and a senior aide has quit over footage of Number 10 advisers joking about a Christmas party in lockdown.

Tearful Allegra Stratton read a statement outside her North London home this afternoon announcing she would be stepping down – hours after the shameful footage was leaked and outraged the nation.

But many people were unsympathetic to her sobbing display and took to Twitter to make the same joke.

Comedian James Gill quipped on social media: "She didn't have Allegra Stratton (A LEG TO STAND ON)."

Another Twitter user joked: "Not sure Allegra Stratton has A-Leg-to-Stand-on here."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has ordered an investigation into claims staff broke lockdown rules by holding a Christmas party last year involving "cheese and wine".

He has told MPs he was "furious" about a clip which leaked this week apparently showing aides laughing about it during a Downing Street conference rehearsal.

Mr Johnson's spokeswoman Ms Stratton resigned as a result of the leak and offered "profound apologies" adding she would "regret those remarks for the rest of my days".

Despite the giggling caught on camera about the suggestion of a social gathering on December 18, 2020, the Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted that rules were followed in Downing Street.

However, at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons he said he based that position on what junior staff had told him.

He asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case "to establish all the facts and to report back as soon as possible – and it goes without saying that if those rules were broken then there will be disciplinary action for all those involved".

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At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson said: "I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures, and I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules because I was also furious to see that clip.

"I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives.

"But I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured."

In the footage obtained by ITV News, Ms Stratton and adviser Ed Oldfield, along with other aides, were filmed joking about a "fictional" Downing Street party.

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A laughing Ms Stratton said: "This fictional party was a business meeting … and it was not socially distanced."

Her appearance in the briefing room was in stark contrast to her emotional statement on Wednesday, where she told reporters: "My remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey.

"That was never my intention. I will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and I offer my profound apologies to all of you at home for them."

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Ms Stratton, who had been working as Mr Johnson's spokeswoman for the Cop26 climate summit, said she understood people's "anger and frustration".

"To all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and who struggled with your businesses, I am truly sorry and this afternoon I am offering my resignation to the Prime Minister."

The Prime Minister's decision to launch an investigation followed a week of official denials that the party took place on December 18 2020, when London was under Tier 3 restrictions – despite reports staff drank alcohol and exchanged Secret Santa gifts.

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