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Keir Starmer Believes Boris Johnson "Broke The Law" By Hosting A No.10 Christmas Quiz

Keir Starmer Believes Boris Johnson 'Broke The Law' By Hosting A No.10 Christmas Quiz
5 min read

Labour leader Keir Starmer has said it "looks as though” Boris Johnson was “breaking the law” when he hosted a Christmas quiz in Downing Street last year when London was under severe lockdown restrictions.

Yesterday the Mirror revealed that the Prime Minister took “between 10 and 15 minutes” to host a festive quiz in Number 10 on December 15. The quiz took place just days before a staff party is believed to have taken place in Number 10, which is now the subject of a formal inquiry.

At the time London was under tier two lockdown restirctions, where rules stated, “you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party”.

While Johnson asked questions over Zoom, dozens of participants in the quiz allegedly congregated in groups in the office, drinking wine and beer.

A photograph released by the Mirror shows the Prime Minister reading out questions while seated next to two members of his team. None of the three were drinking.  

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, said that “it looks as though [Johnson] was breaking the law”.

“He must have known those other groups were in other rooms in his own building,” the Labour leader said.

“It was only Wednesday that the Prime Minister stood up in Parliament and said he was furious that he’d just found out that there may have been breaches of the rules in Downing Street," Starmer continued.

"Now we learn this morning that three days earlier he was leading a quiz in Downing Street.”

The quiz is the latest in a string of Christmas party scandals that have engulfed the government and infuriated cross-party MPs over the past two weeks.

“We need to look at the allegation and establish the facts. But it is very serious for the prime minister,” Starmer told the BBC

“We’ve got a very important vote coming up next week and [Johnson] can’t even discharge the basic functions of government.

"He’s the worst possible leader of the worst possible time.”

On Wednesday health secretary Sajid Javid was pulled from early morning media appearances, where he was due to talk about Covid-19 booster vaccines, after video was published by ITV showing Johnson's former spokesperson Allegra Stratton joking about the alleged parties. Later that day, Stratton resigned

On Saturday the Mirror also revealed that last year while office parties were banned under Covid regulations, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey’s staff frequently drank alcohol and ordered takeaway in her private Whitehall office, often late into the night.

The Prime Minister has instructed the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to investigate the facts around a series of gatherings at Number 10 and Whitehall departments over the course of lockdown last year.

Responding to the Mirror’s revelation about Johnson hosting a Downing Street Christmas quiz, Nadhim Zahawi told Marr: “The cabinet secretary will investigate any allegations of gatherings or anything else.”

“The right thing to do is allow the cabinet secretary to do this and do it swiftly.

“This is all speculation now.”

On Tuesday the Commons is due to vote on a range of new Covid regulations, drawn up in response to concerns about the Omicron variant and associated rising case numbers.

The regulations include working from home where possible, implementing vaccine certification at large events and nightclubs, and mandating facemasks in theatres and cinemas.

The new measures have caused uproar among some Tory MPs, who argue they unnecessarily compromise civil liberties.

More than 60 have confirmed they will vote against the measures, meaning Johnson faces the largest rebellion against his government since taking power in 2019.

Starmer has confirmed that Labour will vote with government for the new regulations, as it “is in the public interest to protect the public and protect the NHS”.

Labour's support means that despite the rebellion among Tory MPs, the measures are likely to pass. 

“I think the measures that are going to be introduced on Tuesday are necessary because of the great threat now that the new variant poses,” Starmer told Marr.

“In those circumstances the Labour Party will show leadership and do what is in the public interest.

“We’re about to have further measures that are necessary because of the variant. At that very moment the trust in the Prime Minister is at an all-time low.

“He’s now so weak, his party is so divided, he can’t deliver the leadership that this country needs.”

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