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‘A sick joke’: what the papers say about the No 10 Christmas party video

·4-min read

Most splashed on the leaked video showing No 10 staff joking about a lockdown party Downing Street denies took place


After a video was leaked on Tuesday evening showing No 10 staff joking about a lockdown Christmas party that Downing Street has claimed never happened, most UK newspapers have splashed on the story as the biggest of the day – with some notable exceptions.

The story’s wide impact was emphasised on Tuesday night when Ant and Dec joked about the news on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, saying the show’s participants “categorically deny any suggestions that they had a party and this fictional party definitely didn’t involve cheese and wine or a secret Santa”.

The Guardian’s story says the footage, obtained by ITV, will add to calls for a formal inquiry into what happened, and notes a tweet by Dominic Cummings, a former aide to Boris Johnson, who said the prime minister lied about the party and said that doing so was “v unwise”.

The Daily Mail also splashes on the story, calling it “a sick joke” alongside three stills of Allegra Stratton, the prime minister’s then press secretary, who featured in the video of a mock press briefing.

The Daily Mirror runs with “Another top Tory broke Covid party rules”, putting the news together with its own story about a Christmas party at the Department for Education.

The Daily Telegraph – said to be the paper whose coverage most exercises Boris Johnson – is headlined “Downing St Christmas party faces police probe”. An earlier edition had led with a story about a possible Christmas work-from-home order.

The i’s headline reads “2021: It’s beginning to look a lot like last Christmas”, putting the news together with a prediction of 80,000 cases of the Omicron and Delta variants daily by Christmas and Johnson refusing to rule out a work-from-home order.

Metro’s pithy headline is “No.10 party clowns”. An earlier edition had run with a story about a winter care crisis.

The Daily Express features the story above its main headline calling on its readers to get booster jabs.

The story does not make the front page of the Sun, which instead accuses energy bosses of blaming the “wrong kind of wind” for power cuts. It does have a small picture story about a secret party – attended by the Rolling Stones.

The Times runs with a picture of Stratton but leads on a cabinet row over vaccine passports.

The Financial Times features the news below its lead on the situation in Ukraine. Its story is headlined “Johnson under fire as No 10 video fuels anger over alleged Christmas party”.

The Daily Star does not feature the story, instead focusing on Dominic Raab’s actions over the Afghan crisis and suggesting that the former foreign secretary is missing his brain.

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