The Labour leader says Boris Johnson should stop hiding and simply “have the guts” to “own up”, amid calls for police probe into alleged bash
Boris Johnson should “have the guts” to “be honest” about whether a Christmas party took place in Downing Street during Covid curbs last year, Keir Starmer has said.
The Labour leader launched a savage attack on the Prime Minister for using “words that don’t mean anything” and hiding from the claims, after Mr Johnson once again swerved properly answering questions on alleged festive bashes at No 10 last year.
The Mirror reported last week that revellers at an unofficial No10 Christmas bash on December 18 allegedly enjoyed food, drinks and games which went on well past midnight.
Fresh allegations in the Times also revealed that officials organised a ‘secret Santa’ and sent out invites, suggesting the event was planned.
Millions of people were living under strict Covid rules at the time – with London under Tier 3 restrictions.
The following day Mr Johnson announced that Christmas plans had to be drastically scaled back.
Sources have also said Boris Johnson gave a speech at a packed leaving do in No 10 in November, during the second national lockdown
Following widespread calls for the Met Police to launch an investigation into rule-breaking at No 10, the Labour leader launched a fresh broadside at the PM.
He said: “They know that party took place. They know what happened.
“Have the guts to be honest about it. No more of these games, all this ‘we were following the rules’, all these words that don’t mean anything.
“Be honest. Own up.
“Very many people are very, very upset by this, because whilst all the rest of the country was in lockdown, not seeing loved ones, people lost people in that period, now know there was a knees-up and a booze up in Downing Street and even now, the Prime Minister can’t just be honest.
“So I say to him: be honest. We don’t need a criminal investigation, we need a Prime Minister who’s honest about it.”
A Downing Street spokesman has denied there were parties and said guidance was followed.
But the PM refused three times to deny the allegations at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons last week, and when he was asked again by reporters in person on Tuesday, he said: “What I can tell you is that all the guidelines were observed, continue to be observed.”
Asked if he investigated personally whether officials organised a party, Mr Johnson said: “I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak was also pressed on the issue in the Commons on Tuesday.
Labour MP Karl Turner asked if he or any of the Treasury’s special advisors attended the parties, and the Chancellor gave a carefully-worded reply, saying: “No, I did not attend any parties.”