BBC's Ros Atkins in forensic dissection of Christmas row rocking Boris Johnson's Cabinet

The BBC journalist examined the ongoing argument over a Christmas party allegedly held in Downing Street while the UK was locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Boris Johnson denied allegations a party took place but has come under pressure after a video emerged of Number 10 staffers seemingly mocking the measures while discussing the private bash. Mr Atkins said: “At this time, there was a national lockdown.

“Indoor gatherings were banned unless within a household bubble and police were looking for rule-breakers.

“On December 17, the Met told us how officers have shut down a wedding where 40 people were in attendance.

“It went on that ‘holding large gatherings could be the difference between life and death for someone else. London is in Tier 3. You must not mix inside with anyone who is not in your household or support bubble.’

“Also, in December last year, Leicester Police shared a video showing a raid on a gathering. The party was over – two people got a £10,000 fine each for a gathering of 60.”

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He continued: “And the police continue to take action now.

“Tristan Kirk from the Evening Standard reporting, ‘the Met Police happens to be, this week, prosecuting on alleged illegal gathering on December 19 last year. Not in Downing Street but in Ilford.’

“One source told the BBC the Downing Street party in December was attended by several dozen people.

“But this weekend the Met said, ‘it is our policy not to routinely investigate breaches of the COVID-19 regulations.’

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Delivering a statement outside of her London home, Ms Stratton said: “The British people have made immense sacrifices in the ongoing battle against Covid-19. I now fear that my comments in the leaked video of the 20th of December last year have become a distraction in that fight.

“My remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey.

“That was never my intention. I will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and I offer my profound apologies to all of you at home for them.”

She added: “I will always be proud of what was achieved at COP 26 in Glasgow and the progress that was made on coal, cars, cash, and trees.

“This country and the Prime Minister’s leadership on climate change and on nature will make a lasting difference to the whole world. It has been an honour to play a part in that.”

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