'Gonna party like it's Downing Street in LOCKDOWN': Twitter erupts with fury and mocking memes after video shows No10 staff joking about 'illegal' festive bash during Tier 3 shutdown

 Social media was once again flooded with memes mocking Boris Johnson and No10 after fresh evidence surfaced suggesting No10 staff did hold a Christmas party during lockdown last year.

Twitter users tried to find the funny side, comparing the Prime Minister to Pinocchio and Mr Blobby, while others fumed over the fact no government minister was available to discuss the matter during this morning's rounds of broadcast interviews.

Footage last night emerged of Downing Street aides joking about a Christmas party allegedly held in No10 the day before the PM cancelled Christmas for millions by plunging London into Tier 4 lockdown.

The video shows No10 special advisors taking part in a fake press conference led by the PM's then press secretary Allegra Stratton four days after the alleged December 18 event - raising serious questions after denials of wrongdoing from No10.

The clip, discovered by ITV News, shows Ms Stratton and Ed Oldfield, No10's head of digital, rehearsing a question and answer session in the No9 briefing room.

In it Oldfield asks a question about 'a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night', to which Ms Stratton laughs and replies: 'I went home.' 

When he asks if the Prime Minister would condone such a party, Ms Stratton appears unsure how to respond and asks the room: 'What's the answer?'

A third voice can be heard saying 'it wasn't a party, it was cheese and wine', before Ms Stratton added: 'It was a business meeting ... this fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.'

The footage was released after Boris Johnson had earlier refused to answer questions about the gathering, with questions raised over whether it breached social distancing rules in place at the time.

The Metropolitan Police has said it was aware of the footage and is considering an investigation into the alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations in government buildings last December. 

Asked about it on a visit to a London prison yesterday, Mr Johnson would only say that all the rules had been followed at the time. Other ministers have refused to confirm if a party happened or not.

Sir Keir Starmer responded to the footage of Downing St aides joking about the party by saying that Boris Johnson needed to 'come clean and apologise'.

The Labour leader said: 'People across the country followed the rules even when that meant being separated from their families, locked down and - tragically for many - unable to say goodbye to their loved ones.

'They had a right to expect that the government was doing the same.

'To lie and to laugh about those lies is shameful. The Prime Minister now needs to come clean, and apologise. 

'It cannot be one rule for the Conservatives and another for everyone else.'

In response to the footage, a Downing Street spokesman said: 'There was no Christmas party. Covid rules have been followed at all times.'

The leaked footage was shot in the media room at 9 Downing Street, which was refurbished at a cost of £2.6 million in preparation for the televised broadcasts before the plan was ditched. 

Parties were banned under Covid restrictions at the time. Mr Johnson has not confirmed or denied reports that members of his Downing Street team staged a party on December 18 last year when London was under Tier 3 restrictions but he has insisted that no rules were broken.

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