Government Christmas party 2020: Number 10 staff laughed and the joke was on us
Remember Christmas 2020? No? Not surprising really, there wasn’t much of a Christmas in Sheffield.
We were in tier three, which meant no Christmas lights in the city centre, no Christmas market on Fargate and not even the chance to see Sheffield legend Damian Williams in the Lyceum panto.
That’s because we obeyed the lockdown rules. But as the saying goes, there is always an exception to the rule. A video obtained by ITV appears to shows senior Downing Street staff joking about holding a Christmas party - days after one was held there during lockdown.
The PM's then-press secretary Allegra Stratton is asked by colleagues about reports of a party, as they rehearse a news conference in December last year.
In jokey exchanges, she says: "This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced."
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has denied reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Downing Street staff broke Covid rules by attending two parties in Number 10 in the run-up to last Christmas. But as it’s panto season, we can all shout: “Oh yes they did.”
That’s because we feel let down by this government which says one thing and does another. Think HS2 and a Sheffield link. First it was on, but when it came to the crunch: “Oh no it wasn’t.”
So it comes as no surprise that the number 10 staff seem to have been having a party while we were separated from relatives, sometimes in the most painful way. For some people this even meant not seeing loved ones before they died. Suddenly, the antics at number 10 don’t seem funny.
At least this year we have got reasons to smile. The Sheffield city centre Christmas lights look great, the festive market is offering mulled wine and roast chestnuts and the panto is back on at the Lyceum. Go and see Damian and chums in Sleeping Beauty. That really is a party.
Meanwhile let’s hope someone in the Government can do the right thing and say sorry. Maybe someone might even resign. It is about time they played the game we’ve all been playing. Just don’t expect them to follow the rules.