Who’s the real party pooper? Three gatherings investigated by top civil servant

An official investigation has been launched following the surfacing of three staff parties that were held by the government last year.

The three parties, namely on the 27th November, 18th December, and 10th December will be investigated to determine whether there were any Covid rule breaches. Any potential breaches would then be directly reported to the police.

Additionally, it was seen that Labour called for the prime minister to step down should he be found to have misconstrued information about the parties to Members of Parliament.

Boris Johnson announced that an inquiry would be launched by top civil servant Simon Case. This news came due to the release of a video from 2020 emerged. It displayed government staff joking about a party that had taken place on the 18th of December. On this specific day, more than 400 Covid related deaths had been reported. Spokeswomen, Allegra Stratton, who was seen in the circulated video, later resigned. However, the Metropolitan police did not continue with the investigation of the party on the 18th of December due to a lack of evidence and criminal negligence.

Boris Johnson stated that he had been assured that “there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken”. During this time, London was under strict Covid regulations which stated that people were not allowed to meet indoors. He did however show solidarity by outlining the fact that those found guilty would be held responsible and would face disciplinary action.

The 10th December gathering took place during a full lockdown in England. Which England had been in since the 27th November. The main purpose of the cabinet secretary’s investigation was to identify, outline and understand the reasoning behind the gatherings which took place and the purpose of engaging in such gatherings under the restrictive lockdown. Should the investigations conclude with evidence of the criminal offense, it will be escalated to the police. Additionally, the Cabinet Office’s work may be halted. All ministers will be required to cooperate with the investigation.

The party which took place on the 13th November will not be investigated. Four members of staff have already been disciplined following their actions at the party on the 13th. Various members attended the parties, namely, Carrie Johnson and Cleo Watson. Both of which, are prominent figures.

The Prime Minister repeatedly stated that no Covid rules were broken in Downing Street. However, the public who have witnessed videos that were circulated, believe otherwise. To the public, these actions seem contradictory given that they were instructed to abide by the regulations which have now been broken by those with prominent roles.

The need for transparency and accountability is more important now than ever in light of the illicit parties which were conducted.

Jessica Bayley

Jessica Bayley is an international author and journalist based in South Africa and Belgium. She writes on international affairs and also an author of "The Ladies of Belgium"