Downing St claims Christmas Party video does not exist despite resignation of key aide Allegra Stratton

Downing Street has claimed the video of aides joking about Covid-19 restrictions just days after allegedly hosting a Christmas party does not exist, despite it leading to a high-profile aide’s resignation.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request from The Scotsman for any recorded press briefing rehearsals in the press briefing room at 9 Downing street between December 18 and 25, 2020, officials claimed no such footage existed.

They stated: “Searches of our records have not identified any information held in relation to your request.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to a vaccination centre in Northamptonshire. Picture: PA

It is alleged a Christmas party in Downing Street on December 18 last year saw officials and advisers make speeches, enjoy a cheese board, drink together and exchange Secret Santa gifts, although the Prime Minister is not thought to have attended.

The response from No. 10 was despite leaked footage of press briefing rehearsals sparking the emotional resignation of Allegra Stratton, Boris Johnson’s press secretary at the time of the video.

The footage showed her and other aides joking about a gathering with fellow aides at a mock press conference.

The event is at the heart of an investigation being led by senior civil servant Sue Gray, which is examining lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall.

Allegra Stratton speaking outside her home in north London where she announced that she has resigned as an adviser to Boris Johnson.

It also comes the day after an email inviting Downing Street staff to drinks in the garden, sent by key No.10 aide Martin Reynolds, was leaked to ITV News.

The Prime Minister is facing calls to resign over the scandal, with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross saying Mr Johnson must resign if he is found to have broken the law.

Downing Street was contacted for comment.

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