No 10 Reportedly in ‘Panic' Over BoJo 'Mistresses, Love Children' Mock Qs in Allegra Stratton Tapes
Allegra Stratton's ITV News-leaked mock press conference, filmed in December 2020, showed No 10 staff joking about a Christmas party that wasn’t “socially distanced”, fueling the “partygate” scandal that brought PM Boris Johnson under fire over the nature of last year’s reported gatherings in Downing Street during heightened COVID-19 restrictions.
10 Downing Street staff are in “panic” mode as they anticipate further damning recordings to emerge of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former spokeswoman Allegra Stratton, reported the Daily Mail.
Stratton's infamous mock press conference, filmed last December and leaked by ITV-News, revealed Downing Street staff joking about allegedly holding a lockdown-breaching Christmas party at No 10. However, it is reported that the recorded sessions included mock questions and Stratton’s responses referring to the Prime Minister’s “mistresses” and “love children”.
“Allegra is of course well-aware she was asked more than just the one question we have all seen. She is feeling very anxious and has totally gone to ground, she is speaking to hardly anyone,” a source was cited as saying.
According to the insider, current and former staffers are “living in fear every day that the rest of the questions put to her will come out, because they know they were filmed”.
“The worst could be yet to come. Other mock scenarios included fictional questions about the mistresses of Boris and his love children… No 10 will need to brace themselves. They are absolutely s******* themselves about what else is around – and Allegra is too.”
When the 22 December 2020 footage was filmed, Allegra Stratton was “in training” to become a White House-style spokeswoman leading daily press briefings on behalf of Boris Johnson. However, as the plan was ditched, she became the UK government's COP26 spokeswoman.
The video of Stratton’s rehearsal had been circulated the following day to nine people working in Downing Street, writes the outlet. These individuals had been tasked with scrutinising Stratton's performance in front of the cameras.
“That was not a failing on the part of the teams involved in the process – they would not be doing their jobs properly if they hadn't worked out what the most difficult questions were likely to be and prepared for them. But it just goes to show what a ridiculous, self-defeating plan it was from the start,” said the source.
It was this footage that ITV had obtained, with a source cited by the Mail as saying both Stratton and her former No 10 colleagues believe they have established the source of the leak. “They believe that a confidentiality agreement has been breached,” added the insider.
The PM apologised for the footage at the PMQs in the Commons, yet stated he had been "repeatedly assured" no such gathering took place. Reports of other supposedly illicit 2020 Christmas gatherings began to surface, with the PM himself accused of breaking the Tier 2 rules in mid-December 2020 by hosting a staff quiz at No 10.
18 December 2021, 05:44 GMT
Boris Johnson tasked the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to head a Whitehall inquiry into the allegations, yet in another embarrassing turn of events, the UK's top civil servant stepped down after reports surfaced of a similar event held in his own office. The “partygate” row, which had come in the wake of sleaze allegations linked to the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal, contributed to the humiliating Tory defeat by the Liberal Democrats at Thursday's North Shropshire by-election.
17 December 2021, 13:33 GMT
“Any further breach would be in the public interest, so they feel they cannot stop it. They are just waiting like sitting ducks. To say they are on tenterhooks is an understatement,” said a source in reference to the more damming tapes that were “just waiting to come out.”