Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
11 January 2022

The timing of the No 10 party leaking has been impeccable

Happy new year to the Downing Street leaker. Just when Boris Johnson thought claims of Covid-19 rule-breaking would die down, 2022 has brought fresh revelations.

By The Chatterer

At the start of this year, the Westminster commentariat wisely stroked its collective chin and declared that the Prime Minister was on safer ground than before Christmas.

The countless stories of parties at No 10 during Covid-19 restrictions, though still clearly affecting the Conservative Party’s standing in the polls, had at least died down.

A new variant came along, allowing Boris Johnson to stand in front of a lectern looking mildly serious a few times. With Michael Gove’s crapper-than-it-sounds announcement of cladding support, the spin machine was back in action, whirring away nicely for 2022. Order was restored.

Yet one leaker, whose identity the Chatterer would not attempt to guess, decided new year would not mean “new normal” for the PM, and dropped yet another bomb about No 10’s lockdown parties to ITV.

The timing, for everyone who thought Alexander Boris de Teflon Johnson would simply get away with it again, is perfect. And looking back, these exposés have always been expertly timed. The Mirror’s original story about a No 10 Christmas party, followed up by ITV with the clip of then press spokesperson Allegra Stratton joking about a cheese and wine “business meeting”, were devastatingly pitched at the very beginning of December – just as the country was turning its weary mind to Christmas parties for the first time in two years.

Then there was the Guardian’s exclusive No 10 garden drinks photo of Johnson and his wife and other staff around tables with wine allegedly taken during the original lockdown in May 2020, released as Omicron’s spread put Covid restrictions and lockdowns once again at the top of the news agenda and to the front of voters’ minds.

If it’s the same leaker each time, the Chatterer raises a glass of Dry January light white grape Shloer to them for keeping up the momentum.

Content from our partners
A global hub for content producers, gaming and entertainment companies in Abu Dhabi
Insurance: finding sustainable growth in stormy markets
Why public health policy needs to refocus

[See also: The Downing Street party scandal is closing in on Boris Johnson]

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 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
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.