Steerpike

Whitehall hit by party cancellations

Whitehall hit by party cancellations
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After a fraught few months, you'd have hoped the hard-pressed masters and mandarins of Whitehall could let their hair down with a good old Christmas bush. Unfortunately, in the wake of 'partygate' a wave of cancellations is now sweeping Westminster with No. 10 canning their planned shindig on Wednesday and Rishi Sunak now calling off his Treasury drinks for the lobby on Monday. Mr S hears that further cancellations are in the works, amid fears about the Omicron variant and growing questions about the growing number of secret soirees which went on last year in lockdown. How will our cheese and wine industries cope?

The cancellations are all the more curious given, er, the Prime Minister's own advice is for Christmas parties to still go ahead. Asked on Wednesday at his Covid press conference whether events should be cancelled, Johnson said that festive parties and nativity plays should still go ahead saying: 'They should follow the guidance, of course, but we are not saying we want kids to be taken out of school before the end of term – not that there is very long to go now – and we don’t want nativity plays to be cancelled.'

Given the cancellations by the PM's own colleagues, it seems that dissent is in the air this Christmas time. Still, with more than 50 Tories now planning to vote against Plan B, and Johnson's rumoured successors quietly courting colleagues, at least one theme is consistent with this government now eh?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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