UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces calls to resign after leaked video showed Downing Street staff joking about a Christmas party as the country was under strict COVID rules
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to resign amid a video leak from his staff joking about a Christmas party.
SNP senior MP Ian Blackford has said Johnson “can no longer lead” the UK’s response to the pandemic.
Johnson apologized for the leak of the video, which was filmed in December 2020.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces calls for his resignation after a leaked video showed his staff joking about hosting an illegal Christmas party as the country was under strict COVID-19 restrictions Last year.
According to reports from British tabloid The Mirror, the party took place on December 18, 2020 and involved food and drink, board games and a ‘Secret Santa’ gift exchange.
Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s top MP, said Johnson’s “only fair and moral choice” was to resign.
“Confidence in leadership is a matter of life and death. Downing Street deliberately broke the rules and made fun of the sacrifices we all made, breaking public trust ” Blackford told parliament on Wednesday.
“The Prime Minister is responsible for the loss of the confidence of the people. He can no longer lead the most urgent problem facing these islands,” he said.
If Johnson does not resign, Blackford said, “he must be removed.”
Johnson apologized for the video, which was shot in December 2020. It depicts a mock press conference in which his former press secretary Allegra Stratton joked about the supposed Christmas party.
A leaked video of the press conference exercise was obtained by ITV News just four days after multiple sources told media that there had been a party in the Prime Minister’s Office in Downing Street that violated the COVID-19 rules at the time.
“I just saw reports on Twitter that there was a Christmas party in Downing Street on Friday night, do you recognize these reports?” Ed Oldfield, an adviser to the Prime Minister, can be heard asking in the video.
“I came home,” Stratton said with a laugh.
“Would the Prime Minister agree to organize a Christmas party? Oldfield then asked.
“What is the answer?” Stratton joked.
At the time of the party and the mock press conference, the UK was under Level 3 restrictions, which limited indoor gatherings to groups of two and prohibited office parties.
Stratton resigned over the video, saying she “would regret the remarks for the rest of my life.”
After initially denying that a party had taken place, Johnson announced during a speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday that he would open an investigation into the event.
“If the rules have been broken, there will be disciplinary action for everyone involved,” he said.
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