Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
8 December 2021updated 14 Dec 2021 1:28pm

Allegra Stratton has resigned, but Johnson’s troubles are only beginning

The Prime Minister will hope that one resignation is enough to bring the story to a close.

By Stephen Bush

Allegra Stratton has resigned as a government adviser after video footage emerged of her joking about an illicit Christmas party just days after at least one party is known to have taken place at Downing Street. 

Boris Johnson will hope that Stratton’s exit draws a line under the row. He is now face, however, with a somewhat perverse (and surely unsustainable) situation in which the only person to resign in connection with the party is the person who, in the offending clip, clearly says she “went home”. 

Labour will hope that now that the principle has been established that joking about the party is a resignation-worthy offence, anyone found to have actually attended it, or any other lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street, has to do the same thing. If Stratton has gone, why not Ed Oldfield, who kicked off the joke? Why not the whole guest list of the offending party?

The Conservatives will hope that ultimately, like most industries, the media loves to talk about itself, and that the resignation of Stratton – who worked with Newsnight, the Guardian and ITV over the course of a long and successful career before entering politics – will trigger an introspective debate about the media and communications, allowing the government to “move on” from the row. 

Looming over the whole thing, of course, is the Omicron variant and whatever future mutations of Covid-19 do to the battle against the disease. The one thing that is guaranteed to cause the story of Downing Street’s Christmas parties to run and run is if the government feels that it has to once more ban large-scale social gatherings, in order to buy time and slow the spread of Covid-19. 

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

THANK YOU

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up