BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg uncovers Christmas party attendee that REALLY matters for Boris

Allegra Stratton in tears as she resigns as Boris Johnson’s adviser

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The Prime Minister’s top spin doctor, by all accounts, already had his work cut out for him in attempting to curtail criticism of reported parties thrown at Downing Street last Christmas in spite of lockdown rules. His job has, however, become all the more difficult following claims that he attended a party, which there have since been efforts to underplay, himself.

According to Ms Kuenssberg, the BBC’s Political Editor, the corporation was told that Jack Doyle, Director of Communications at Downing Street, made a speech to as many as 30 people (or, according to the Independent, as many as 50 people) and handed out awards at a “gathering”.

Mr Doyle is believed to have gathered and thanked staff on a weekly occurrence.

But on December 18, the date which has caused so much controversy this week, he is said to have given out a number of light-hearted awards amid party games, food and drink.

The event is believed to have gone on past midnight.

An official investigation is now underway.

Along with the party said to have taken place on December 18, two other parties on November 27 and December 10 are also being investigated for Covid rule breaches.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Allegra Stratton resigned following the emergence of video footage, recorded last year, in which she joked about Number 10 staff holding a Christmas party.

Ms Kuenssberg wrote in the BBC: “At the heart of Government there is no desire for other staff to quit or be forced out before [the investigation] has run its course.”

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But the revelation that Mr Doyle is believed to have attended a gathering – or a party, depending on the angle – has raised questions about whether further departures can be avoided.

Ms Kuenssberg added: “There is no question that the press team in Number 10 work hard and put in extremely long hours. At that point in time they were dealing with the pandemic and the final crescendo of the Brexit talks too.

“But other sources in Westminster are now questioning whether it is possible for Mr Doyle to stay in his job.”

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The BBC has heard that some officials believe Mr Doyle should go because of Number 10’s efforts, with which he will have been involved, to “deny and explain what did or didn’t happen”.

She adds that Mr Doyle may be “well-liked by his colleagues” but that recent Government failures to make light of Covid rule-breaking accusations have backfired.

Labour responded to the latest allegations by accusing the Prime Minister of being “unfit to lead”.

As seen above, “Partygate” has also resulted in serious criticism from within Tory ranks.

Following reports of rule-breaking at Number 10, Tory MP Chris Green suggested that Mr Johnson had only introduced winter ‘Plan B’ restrictions to distract from the news.

He responded with a few seconds of awkward silence after he was asked on BBC Radio Manchester whether he had confidence in the Prime Minister.

Finally, he responded: “I’m very concerned about what the Prime Minister is doing.”

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