New No. 10 party leak puts Johnson under pressure

How much trouble is Boris Johnson in over partygate? Since allegations first emerged last year of a number of parties and gatherings in 10 Downing Street when the rest of the country was living under strict Covid restrictions, the Prime Minister has had to launch an investigation (now led by civil servant Sue Gray after cabinet secretary Simon Case had to step down over his own prior knowledge of said gatherings) and seen his approval ratings plummet. Just as Downing Street aides had begun to hope the saga was nearing an end, new evidence has emerged which appears to put Johnson in the firing line. ITV News has published an email sent by the Prime

Stratton resigns – but the row isn’t over

The row over the Downing Street ‘party’ has claimed its first victim. On Wednesday Allegra Stratton announced that she was resigning from government. Her decision followed the leaked footage of a practice press briefing in which Stratton — then spokeswoman for the Prime Minister — appeared to joke about a lockdown breaching No. 10 party four days after is alleged to have taken place. Addressing reporters outside her home, Stratton — who most recently has been working on the COP26 summit — said she was deeply sorry for her comments:  My remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey. That was never my intention. I

Kate Andrews

Will the public take Plan B seriously?

After holding strong for two weeks, fears over the Omicron variant look set to change the government’s course on Covid restrictions. Reports this morning suggest that Plan B could be implemented as early as tomorrow, including advice to work from home and — more controversially — the introduction of vaccine passports. The timing is interesting: rumours about the possible decision landed hours after a video clip — showing the Prime Minister’s former press secretary joking about last year’s alleged Downing Street Christmas party with No. 10 aides — was leaked. Downing Street still adamantly denies the party took place. Many are wondering if this is a ‘dead cat’ strategy: one that

An elegy on the end of elegance

Gstaad During these dark, endless periods of lockdown, let’s take a trip down memory lane to a time when we still had real high life: parties galore, carefree girls in their summer dresses, and drunken dawns playing polo in dinner jackets. Life forms began to move properly about 500 million years ago, but I will take you back only 50 or so years, when chic creatures moved to the beat of the samba, the tango, the waltz and the cha-cha-cha. The Roaring Twenties roared because of the Great War’s privations, and the fabled, fabulous Fifties were a reaction to the second world war. People ached to have a good time

Dear Mary: how do I confront a work colleague who has bad BO?

Q. My son is having his 30th birthday next weekend and has invited 50 friends to a garden party. We thought it would have been okay to host a party by now, but government guidelines say it is illegal to have more than 30 people. How does he reduce the numbers? One way to do it might be to have a live Zoom chat and pick the names out of a hat. That would also give my son the opportunity not to put a name in if a friend has a partner he doesn’t get on with. Would this work? — Name and address withheld A. Even if one undesirable