Defending Boris Johnson’s attendance at a Christmas Party in Downing Street, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said there was “no alcohol on the table”, adding that he was “not drinking”. He also said the PM was “respecting the lockdown rules.”
A few weeks later, a photo emerged showing the Prime Minister flanked by three members of staff, one wearing tinsel and another a Santa hat, at the event on December 15, 2020.
On the desk in front of him - from where he read out quiz questions to teams across the building - is what appears to be champagne and a half-eaten packet of crisps.
The picture looks like a party. At the time, London was under tier 2 restrictions, banning all social mixing between 2 or more people from different households. Official guidance also stated: “You must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier.”
Nadhim Zahawi was emphatic in his defence of the Prime Minister, insisting that there was “no alcohol” on the table at the No 10 Christmas Quiz, and that the Prime Minister was “respecting the lockdown rules.” We now know that this claim is false, following publication in the Daily Mirror of a photograph of the Prime Minister with what appears to be champagne. Nadhim Zahawi was misleading TV viewers. The question arises who briefed the Education Secretary and provided him with false information? Was it the Prime Minister himself, or one of his aides?
We therefore approached Nadhim Zahawi with the following questions: “who told you this false information? Was it the PM himself? Will you be apologising to the television viewers you misled?”