Allegra Stratton Quits As Government Advisor Following Leaked Video
Allegra Stratton has resigned from her position as government adviser after footage emerged showing her joking about an alleged lockdown Christmas party at No 10, Downing Street.
Stating that she is ‘truly sorry’ for the way she spoke in the leaked recording, the former journalist told broadcasters that she will be offering her resignation to the PM this afternoon.
In a leaked video, obtained by ITV News, Stratton, who was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson at the time of the alleged party, could be seen light-heartedly discussing the alleged breach of coronavirus restrictions with senior advisor to the PM, Ed Oldfield.
The footage shows Stratton laughing about an alleged ‘[non] socially distanced’ gathering, which she in turn described as a ‘fictional party,’ a ‘cheese and wine’ event, and later, a ‘business meeting’, remarking, ‘it was not socially distanced’.
In a statement given to reporters outside her home, Stratton confirmed that she is now resigning from her post as the PM’s spokesperson for COP26, offering her ‘profound apologies’:
My remarks seemed to make light of rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey. That was never my intention.
[…] 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.
Stating that she understood the ‘anger and frustration’ felt by members of the public, Stratton continued:
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.
In the clip in question, Oldfield can be heard using a jocular tone while asking Stratton:
I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?
Laughing, Stratton replied, ‘I went home’, to which Oldfield followed up with another question, asking, ‘Would the prime minister condone having a Christmas party?’ Stratton laughed again, responding, ‘What’s the answer?’
Further laughed ensued, before Stratton stated with some evident amusement, ‘it was a business meeting… this fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced’.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson ‘apologised unreservedly’ for the impression given by the clip, which he claims has left him ‘sickened and furious’.