On December 18, 2020, the Number 10 party in the United Kingdom allegedly held a Christmas party, despite the entire nation being subjected to Tier 3 restrictions. These restrictions not only banned social events, but also made it difficult (sometimes impossible) for numerous families and friends to see each other.
Although the Prime Minister’s spokesperson denied the reality of such a social gathering, one of Boris Johnson’s aides, Allegra Stratton, was videotaped joking about the event and even mentioned that “it was not socially distanced”.
Evidently, the incident was a relative betrayal to the general British population, as many viewed it as a clear instance of political hypocrisy.
Nonetheless, this controversy took another turn when Boris Johnson publicly apologised in parliament and repeatedly stated that he believed the gathering was a “work event”. Many Members of Parliament – notably the Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – have begun pressuring Boris Johnson to resign his position as Prime Minister.
One of the most notable responses to the PM’s apology was given by Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader, who noted “is [Boris Johnson] going to do the decent thing and resign”, as well as mocking the PM for “not realising he’s at a party”.
Despite the unquestionable level of pressure placed on Boris Johnson, the British government is awaiting conclusive results of a full investigation on the No. 10 party before any concrete matter regarding resignation ensues. After over a year of imposing COVID-19 restrictions, it seems Boris Johnson himself has not followed the rules, and severe repercussions may materialise.
Boris Johnson’s fragile position as prime minister has been exemplified even further when he apologised to the Queen on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. Many British news outlets have had a non-forgiving stance on what they unanimously view as a national embarrassment; The Guardian, for example, released an article headlined “Johnson’s apology to the Queen marks a new low for a prime minister”, expanding further to name his apology “cringeworthy”.