Allegra Stratton resigns after No.10 Christmas party video leak

The PM's former spokesperson said she will regret joking about a party during lockdown last year "for the rest of my days"
Allegra Stratton. Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire

By Tevye Markson

08 Dec 2021

The prime minister’s Cop26 spokesperson, Allegra Stratton, has resigned from her position after a leaked video showed her joking about an alleged party at No.10 last Christmas.

Stratton, who was Boris Johnson’s Downing Street press secretary until earlier this year, told broadcasters outside her house she had offered her resignation to the prime minister this afternoon.

The resignation comes after a video leaked to ITV showed officials including the former journalist joking about having held a party just four days after a lockdown party is reported to have taken place.  

The video shows Stratton, then Johnson’s press secretary, joking with his special adviser, Ed Oldfield. While rehearsing for a news conference, she joked: "This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced."

Stratton said this afternoon her remarks “seemed to make light of rules that people were doing everything to obey”.

“I will regret them for the rest of my days and offer my profound apologies to all of you for them,” she said.

She added: “To all of you who lost loved ones, endured intolerable loneliness and struggled with your business – I am sorry and this afternoon I have offered my resignation to the prime minister.”

The video was leaked last night following claims from various sources that an illegal Christmas party had taken place at 10 Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdown on 18 December last year.

Boris Johnson has since asked Simon Case, the head of the civil service, to investigate the allegations.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions earlier today, Johnson said he was "furious" about the video.

Dozens of people reportedly attended the event at No.10, although the PM's office has repeatedly denied a party took place.

Stratton, a 41-year-old former BBC and ITV News journalist, was brought into the PM’s team to hold White House-style press conferences after the government spent £2.6m on a venue to hold the briefings.

The video obtained by ITV shows her prepping for a broadcast appearance before the plans were scrapped, with no official briefing ever taking place.

She stepped down as press secretary in April, after plans for the White House-style briefings were abandoned, and was then named as the PM’s spokesperson for the climate conference.

Stratton, who reported directly to the PM in her role, said she will "always be proud of what was achieved at Cop26 in Glasgow and the progress that was made on coal, cars, cash and trees".

“This country – and the PM's leadership – on climate change and nature will make a lasting difference to the whole world,” she added.

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