New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
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.

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

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • 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 Progressive Media Investments 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.

Content from our partners
We need an urgent review of UK pensions
The future of private credit
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors