Downing Street cancels plans for Christmas party while telling public to carry on with theirs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference in London's Downing Street after ministers met to consider imposing new restrictions in response to rising cases and the spread of the Omicron variant. Picture date: Wednesday December 8, 2021.
Boris Johnson speaking unveiled the 'Plan B' COVID restrictions on Wednesday. (PA)

Plans for a Downing Street Christmas party have been cancelled, it has been confirmed.

It comes two days after Boris Johnson told the country that Christmas parties and school nativities should still go ahead, despite introducing new 'Plan B' COVID restrictions across the country.

A No 10 spokesperson said it wouldn't take place because the government was focusing on its response to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Read more:

Omicron: Post-Christmas lockdown 'can't be ruled out', says No 10

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"We’ve made clear since the latest situation with Omicron. Obviously that’s taking a great deal of time at the moment. There’s no plans for that following the decision of plan B and the latest data", he said.

The PM has faced a major backlash in the past week over revelations that Downing Street held multiple Christmas parties during lockdown last November and December.

The prime minister has faced calls to resign if he is found to have lied about whether he knew parties had taken place. He has strongly denied lying to parliament and insisted the rules were followed at all times.

The Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street, Westminster, London.
Number 10 have said they have cancelled their Christmas party this year, despite previously saying it would go ahead. (PA Images)

The Conservative Party has admitted two parties did take place and five more are alleged to have happened.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has also cancelled his Christmas party.

On 6 December, a No 10 spokesperson confirmed that Downing Street was still considering holding a staff party this year. He said: “We haven’t confirmed any dates at the moment. I think there is an intention to have a Christmas party this year.

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“There is nothing in the limited restrictions that we’ve introduced that would prevent Christmas parties from taking place.”

Under Plan B, work-from-home guidance will return, vaccine passports will become mandatory in large venues and mask rules will be extended.

However, the government guidance has been branded "irrational" by some - including some Tory MPs, who have expressed frustration with the prime minister for insisting people continue with their Christmas parties while simultaneously telling them to work from home.

Watch: Don’t cancel Christmas parties or nativity plays, says Boris Johnson