‘One rule for them’: newspapers savage Boris Johnson over party scandal

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The crisis engulfing the government over the Downing Street Christmas party scandal has given the newspapers the chance to batter Boris Johnson with varying degrees of savagery.

Amid widespread outrage at the video of No 10 staff joking about whether or not a party was held during last year’s tight lockdown, some normally supportive titles reflect that anger with very critical front pages on Thursday.

The Mail combines Wednesday’s announcement of new Covid rules with the No 10 scandal: “One rule for them, new rules for the rest of us”, the splash headline reads. It carries a large picture of a tearful Allegra Stratton, the No 10 adviser who quit on Wednesday after featuring in the leaked video about a lockdown party that Downing Street had claimed never happened.

Watch: They look like they are laughing at us': Newsreader tears into video of Downing Street staff laughing over Xmas party

The Sun also picks up on the public mood with an elaborate front page of Johnson mocked up as the Grinch. The headline says: “Do as I say... not as I Christmas do”.

Related: Why is there a row in the UK about Boris Johnson and Christmas parties?

The Mirror headline reads “Plan B for us .. Plan ‘lie, lie, lie’ for him”, saying that the PM refused to answer questions about two other parties, as new Covid rules were introduced for the whole population.

The Guardian splashes on “PM triggers Covid plan B as party scandal engulfs No 10”, reporting that Boris Johnson had rushed through new Covid restrictions amid fears over Omicron variant, as his government battled a “crisis of credibility” sparked by the Christmas party scandal.

The Telegraph leads with the headline “Don’t go to work, but do go to parties”, referring to Johnson’s announcement about a Covid plan B rather than any ironic reference to the row over the alleged No 10 gathering. It does, however, have a smaller story on calls for the PM to quit if he misled MPs over the scandal.

The Times splashes on “PM orders return to working from home”. The other story on the front, accompanied by a picture of Stratton making her painful resignation announcement, runs with the headline “Tories held raucous second party”.

In Scotland, where Tory leader Douglas Ross has said Johnson should resign if he is shown to have lied, the Scotsman says “Scottish Tories line up to condemn Johnson”, and the Edinburgh Evening News splashes with the words of an ICU nurse: “While they were partying, I was caring for people who were dying”. The Record puts it more bluntly: “Party’s over … now get out”.

The Express headline sticks to the slightly better bad news for the government: “PM: plan B best chance for ‘close to normal’ Xmas”.

The Financial Times says “Johnson adopts plan B to check virus as anger festers over parties”.

The depth of the scandal can perhaps be gauged by the usually politics-averse Daily Star joining in the bashing. “Cluebo” reads the headline with the subhead saying “Captain Cock-up: It was everybody else, in the No 10 drawing room, with wine and nibbles..”

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