Boris Johnson is facing questions over whether he and his wife Carrie spent last Christmas with a friend in Downing Street, even as the rest of the country obeyed tough lockdown rules.
A report claimed that the pair’s friend – campaigner Nimco Ali – joined them in No 10 for the 2020 festive period despite social distancing rules being in force in London amid a tidal wave of coronavirus cases.
Downing Street said no Covid-19 rules had been broken, but neither denied that Ali had spent Christmas with Johnson and his wife.
The allegation was first reported in Harper’s magazine in the UK, in an article written by Lara Prendergast – executive editor of The Spectator.
It claimed that Ali – who is godmother to Wilfred, the Johnsons’ 17-month-old son – “spent Christmas with the couple at No 10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings”.
Ali tweeted on Monday morning that she “did not break any rules”.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”
Carrie Johnson’s spokeswoman said similar, telling the Mirror: “The PM and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”
Strict rules on socialising were imposed by Johnson just a week before Christmas. A planned relaxation of Covid rules for Christmas were scrapped for large parts of south-east England – including London – and slashed to just Christmas Day for the rest of the country.
Ali – known to be a close friend of Mrs Johnson – was last year handed a key job as a Home Office adviser, tasked with tackling violence against women and girls.
The £350-a-day post was not advertised.
Meanwhile Gordon Brown has said failing to send unused coronavirus vaccines from Europe and America to developing countries would be an act of “criminal” neglect.
The former prime minister warned there has been a “lack of co-ordination” from western nations in helping other countries vaccinate their populations against Covid-19.
He described the prospect of wasting vaccines as peacetime’s “biggest public policy failure for years” and called for excess doses to be airlifted to places struggling to access them.
‘Every target missed’
Speaking on Sky News, Brown said a report due to come out on Monday suggests there are approximately 240 million vaccines sitting in Europe and America that are unlikely to be used for months.
He said: “Many of them may go to waste – and that would be criminal – which could immediately be airlifted out to those countries where the level of vaccination is so low that not even the nurses and doctors are protected and certainly not the elderly and vulnerable.
“Boris Johnson promised at the G7 that he was going to vaccinate the whole world.
“He made this bold announcement that, by next year, everybody would be vaccinated who was an adult in the developing world as well as the developed world.
“But since then, so little has happened that we now face the possibility of every target being missed.
“Ten per cent by September: missed. 40 per cent by December: likely to be missed. 70 per cent by next year: likely to be missed.
“So we’ve got to take action immediately to use these unused vaccines to save lives.
“One hundred thousand lives have been saved in Britain because of 100 million vaccines. How many more lives can be saved in the rest of the world if we get these vaccines to people who need them?”