Government faces backlash over video showing aides joking about Downing Street Christmas party
The government is facing a furious backlash after a video emerged showing senior No 10 aides joking about lockdown rules and a Christmas party held at Downing Street.
After Boris Johnson and various aides repeatedly denied that a party took place at all and that Covid rules were broken, Johnson said on Wednesday that he “apologises unreservedly for the offence that [the video] has caused” as well as “for the impression that it gives”, while still insisting that, as far as he was aware, no party took place. He said there would be investigation into the matter by the cabinet secretary.
Here, Guardian readers share what they think of this latest scandal engulfing the prime minister’s administration, and whether they would be willing to accept another lockdown this winter.
‘My brother-in-law died around the time of the party’
It’s all an absolute disgrace with the government and I just despair, but I would observe the rules if a lockdown was called. You’ve got to try to keep the faith. It pains me to say, but the selfish nature of what we have become as a nation, encouraged and nurtured by this Tory government over the last 10 years, breaks my heart.
My brother-in-law died around the time of the party. He had heart problems but wasn’t in bad health, and was looked after at home by my sister-in-law who is a nurse. He went into hospital, tested negative before returning home, but later tested positive and died a few days later. My sister-in-law now has long Covid. Mike , 71, retired, West Kirby
‘I’m done – there’s now no chance you’ll stop me from seeing family at Christmas’
I have severe asthma and am clinically extremely vulnerable and have always been fastidious about the rules. Now I also have a five-month-old baby. After 18 months of a new scandal every week, culminating in them literally laughing at us, I’m done. I will keep my distance from people I don’t know, I will wash my hands, I will even wear a mask. But you try to stop me from seeing family at Christmas – my daughter’s first Christmas, my nephew’s first Christmas, the first Christmas since my grandfather’s Parkinson’s diagnosis? Not a chance.
The 18 December would have been the same as every other night for me the previous nine months – sitting at home doing nothing. I’ve never liked Boris but he really must resign now. How the Tories still have any support from the public is beyond me. Liam 34, IT manager, Newcastle upon Tyne
‘The government has no respect for the public’
The news about an alleged Christmas party is truly scandalous. The government appears to have no respect at all for the public, and no care at all for what people have gone through – whether we’ve suffered a bereavement, endured Covid ourselves, lost jobs and financial security or even just muddled through trying to survive a crisis. It seems to just see it all as a game and they do not care what happens to normal people while they’re playing
If another lockdown was imposed I would be willing to comply. I understand many people won’t because the government has continually undermined its own public health message, but we are still in a pandemic and I want to do the right thing to protect myself and others from getting ill. Emma Hawley, 41, programme manager, Stockport
‘The video is the icing on the cake’
If we went into lockdown I wouldn’t be willing to. It imposes too many restrictions on our freedoms. The latest video is the icing on the cake – the government has now made lockdown even more of a divisive issue following their actions. They cannot expect to be listened to. They have attempted to manipulate the British public using health and social care as a tool, playing into our compassions, while they circumvent whatever laws they wish. They’re just annoyed they’ve been found out and it’s about to bite them in the ass.
The 18 December is my mum’s birthday and last year was the first time I’ve missed it – I was at university and just couldn’t get home to see her. It’s all well and good speaking to someone on FaceTime but it’s not the same as being around them. I think that was the hardest thing for us. Oliver, 20, politics student, London
‘I feel absolute disgust’
My 62-year-old father had a serious stroke in November last year, he was hospitalised and then taken to a rehabilitation home until January. That’s where he spent his Christmas. He almost died and we weren’t allowed to see him at all throughout that period. He had trouble speaking and it was very hard to communicate with him on the phone. One day he called us and was crying on the phone.
I feel absolute disgust when I think about the fact that No 10 had a Christmas party while we went through this. It sickens me. My dismay at that man being the leader of the country I live in increases by the day. The obvious answer is that the Tories were laughing at us all. I wouldn’t be willing to follow another lockdown in regards to seeing loved ones. Daniel, 35, from York
‘It really is one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us’
While the government is unlikely to act fast enough, given previous lockdowns, I would be willing to lockdown if it was deemed important. Last year I was just at home, not having a Christmas party. I did not see anyone other than my household that night. Unfortunately, the latest developments do not surprise me. It really is one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us. I absolutely think the prime minister should resign. He is completely incompetent and ideally he should have already resigned over general mismanagement of the pandemic. Louis, 19, student, Monmouth
‘It really hurts’
I don’t think I would be willing to go back into lockdown. Last year was a really tough Christmas, we didn’t see anybody and it was horrible, though we did it as we were told to and it was the right thing to do.
Knowing that so many people weren’t allowed to have what would have been their last Christmas together while the government threw a party is just awful. It’s laughable that all these people in the Conservative party – Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson – seem to be getting away with these hypocritical actions time and time again. It hurts, it really hurts. Hannah Ibbatson, 41, a stay-at-home mum from York