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Mon, 30 January 2023

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Sajid Javid Denies No10 Christmas Party Took Place And “Doesn’t Know” Why Allegra Stratton Resigned

Sajid Javid Denies No10 Christmas Party Took Place And “Doesn’t Know” Why Allegra Stratton Resigned

Sajid Javid said he has been assured a Christmas party could not have taken place at Number 10 last year (Alamy)

3 min read

The health secretary has continued to deny there was ever a Christmas party in Number 10 last year during lockdown despite a formal inquiry into the event.

Sajid Javid said he has been assured that all Covid rules were adhered to, which means it is impossible for a party to have taken place, as the restrictions at the time prevented it.

Asked by Sky News why government adviser Allegra Stratton resigned over the party fallout yesterday if a party did not happen, Javid said he "honestly" didn't know.

Boris Johnson has apologised and ordered an investigation by the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case after leaked footage showed Stratton and others in Downing Street joking about being asked to respond to claims a party took place.

Speaking to LBC this morning, Javid was reminded he had previously said there had been no Christmas party.

"I have received assurances that there were no rules that were broken, in terms of Covid rules, at any time in Downing Street," he said. 

"That means a party could not take place. If the rules were not broken, then a party could not take place.

"But having this investigation, having the Cabinet Secretary look into this, is the right response because this is the individual who can talk to anyone, can get the data, the evidence together and establish the facts.”

There have been calls for Case to look into other alleged parties, after reports a number of events took place last November and December in Number 10, which Boris Johnson's spokesperson has rejected.

But Javid has suggested the scope of the Cabinet Secretary’s inquiry could be widened amid claims of a gathering on 13 November, another on 27 November, and an event at the Department for Education.

He said it is his understanding that investigators "can look at any aspect and any potential event" that may have happened.

The health secretary told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he is "not quite sure" why Allegra Stratton quit her role as a Johnson’s spokesperson on COP26.

"I wouldn't know, I haven't spoken to her about it,” he added.

"Perhaps it was because she was very embarrassed by the video and what happened and the way things looked. It may well be something like that."

The Cabinet minister was asked why the public should listen to ministers if those making the rules are not going to be "absolutely straight with us”.

He replied: "It couldn't be more important that it is clear at all times that these rules, whatever they are, whether it was back then or the rules we talked about in Parliament yesterday, they apply equally to everyone – no-one is exempt, no-one is above the rules, above the law on this."

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