Allegra Stratton, advisor to Boris Johnson, has resigned from her post following the fallout of the Downing Street party scandal.
In footage leaked from December 2020, Stratton had been seen joking with colleagues about a party which took place inside No.10 in what appeared to be a rehearsal for a televised Covid media briefing.
The Prime Minister had lamented that no such party had taken place at the address after details were revealed to the media last week, however Mr Johnson has today said that an investigation into the alleged party will take place.
The damning footage has now caused Ms Stratton, Johnson’s then-press secretary and his current spokeswoman, to resign from her post.
What did Allegra Stratton say in her resignation speech?
Ms Stratton resigned from her post as Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman and senior aide in a teary apology speech outside her North London home.
She offered her “profound apologies” for any offence caused by the footage, saying: “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.
“Working in government is an immense privilege.
“I tried to do right by you all, to behave with civility and decency and up to the high standards you expect of Number 10.”
Ms Stratton said she felt the public’s “anger and frustration” over the footage, adding: “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.”
What has Boris Johnson said about the situation?
The Prime Minister has today (Wednesday 8 December) announced that he has ordered an investigation into the claims that a party was held in Downing Street.
Speaking at PMQs, Mr Johnson said he was “furious” about the leaked footage which saw Downing Street employees joking about how to answer any questions from the media that may have arisen about a festive gathering that took place last winter.
The footage, which appears to be from 22 December 2020, saw Ms Stratton and other colleagues appear to joke while preparing answers to give to the media.
In the footage, Ms Stratton laughed when asked about a party and said: “This fictional party was a business meeting... and it was not socially distanced.”
Mr Johnson faced a tough morning at PMQs as a result of the scandal.
He reiterated that he had been told that “no rules were broken” and denied that a party took place.
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.”
The Prime Minister also announced that, despite denying that any party took place, an investigation, led by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, would be conducted into whether a gathering took place at Number 10.