Downing St affair

Police rule out No 10 party probe as Stratton quits

Tearful: Allegra Stratton speaking outside her home

Police will not launch a criminal investigation into alleged Covid rule breaches at a Downing Street party despite continuing pressure on the Prime Minister over the affair which has cost the career of another adviser.

Allegra Stratton gave a tearful statement outside her Islington home in which she announced her resignation as the Prime Minister’s £125,000-a-year COP26 adviser.

She apologised  for her part in a mock news conference which showed her joking with colleagues about the party last Christmas as the rest of the country plunged into a strict lockdown.

Struggling to remain composed, Ms Stratton told journalists: “My remarks seemed to make light of 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.” 

“I understand the anger and frustration that people feel.

“To all of you who lost loved ones, endured intolerable loneliness and struggled with your business – I am sorry and this afternoon I have offered my resignation to Prime Minister”.

Ms Stratton enjoyed a stellar career in Fleet Street and at the BBC and ITV, interspersed with advisory roles in government, both at the Treasury and Downing Street.

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She is married to James Forsyth, political editor of the Spectator magazine. The best man at their wedding in 2011 was the future Chancellor Rishi Sunak, a friend of Mr Forsyth from Winchester College.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson, who was attacked by members of his own party – including Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross – as well as the opposition, said today that the Covid rules had not been broken “as far as I’m aware.” He has, however, instructed top civil servant Simon Case, to lead a probe into the affair.

Mr Johnson said he was “sickened” and that “disciplinary action” would be taken against any staff found to have breached the regulations, but insisted he had been “repeatedly” assured the rules had been followed.

“I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules because I was also furious to see that clip,” Mr Johnson told MPs.

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