British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized to parliament after widespread outrage over an alleged Christmas party in his office.
Leaked video images show that top employees joked about such a party at the end of last year, while such gatherings were banned at the time due to the strict corona policy.
In the video, employees seem to discuss such a party during an exercise for a press conference. The then spokeswoman for the prime minister was asked by a colleague whether she is familiar with reports about the Christmas party and whether the prime minister would approve such a thing. She smiles and says, “I went home.” It is later suggested that “this fictional party was a business meeting”.
The leak of those images via news channel ITV has led to angry reactions, including within Johnson’s party. However, he contradicts that rules have been broken and said he was angry about the images. “I understand how frustrating it must be to give the impression that the people who make the rules aren’t following them themselves.”
The Daily Mirror reported last week that “40 to 50” people would have partied in Johnson’s office on December 18, 2020. Members of the prime minister’s “top team” are also said to have attended the party. The newspaper concluded that they drank wine and played games while the rest of the country had to stay at home.
The riot dominated the front pages of morning newspapers on Wednesday. “A sick joke,” headlined the Daily Mail. Prime Minister accused of lying after government team was filmed making party jokes, according to The Guardian. Metro lashed out at the government’s “Party Clowns” in a front-page headline.
The opposition is now putting pressure on the prime minister. The left-wing opposition Labor party leader called the images insulting to Britons who followed the rules and were therefore unable to visit their families for Christmas. “To lie and then joke about those lies is shameful.”
Johnson said in parliament he was “repeatedly assured” that no party took place. He has launched an investigation, although according to the opposition, this is unnecessary. “The Prime Minister has been caught red-handed,” Labor leader Keir Starmer said. “Why doesn’t he end the investigation by just admitting it?”