Boris Johnson does not deny Downing Street lockdown Christmas parties, but insists no rules were broken

The Prime Minister has not denied that Christmas parties were held in Downing Street last year, as the country was facing lockdown restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, London, to attend Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament. (PA)

Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that no rules were broken, but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused him of “taking the British public for fools.”

According to reports in the Daily Mirror this morning, Mr Johnson and Downing Street staff broke Covid rules by attending two gatherings during the festive season in 2020.

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The paper said the Prime Minister gave a speech at a packed leaving do for a senior aide last November when the country was in the midst of the second lockdown.

Members of his No 10 team then held their own festive party days before Christmas, while London was under Tier 3 restrictions.

In each case, the paper reported, there were 40 or 50 people crammed “cheek by jowl” into a medium-sized room.

Addressing Mr Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “As millions of people were locked down last year, was a Christmas party thrown in Downing Street for dozens of people on December 18?”

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Mr Johnson said: “All guidance was followed completely.”

The former director of public prosecutions, went on: “The defence seems to be ‘no rules were broken’. Well, I’ve got the rules that were in place at the time, Prime Minister, of this party, they are very clear: you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party.

“Does the Prime Minister really expect the country to believe that whilst people were banned from seeing their loved ones at Christmas this year it was fine for him and his friends to thrown a boozy party in Downing Street?”

The Prime Minister replied: “I have said what I said about Number 10 and the events of 12 months ago.”

Pointing to the rules being kept to and a part apparently being held, Sir Keir added: “Both of those things can’t be true, Prime Minister. He is taking the British public for fools”.

The news comes as Christmas events are increasingly being cancelled this year, following the identification of the new Omicron variant.

Ministers have encouraged people to keep their Christmas party and Nativity play plans and keep safe through Covid testing.