LONDON: Downing Street will not hold a Christmas party this year, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Friday as the British prime minister faced public fury over claims his staff broke rules last year.

“There’s no plans for that in No 10,” the spokesman said, linking the decision to Johnson’s announcements on Wednesday that England was progressing to stricter virus rules due to try to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. “I think we’ve made clear since the latest situation with Omicron, obviously that’s taking up great deal of time at the moment,” the spokesman said. The announcement came despite Johnson specifically saying on Wednesday he hoped people would go ahead with Christmas parties and other festive events such as children’s Nativity plays, while exercising caution.

People in England will be asked to follow guidance to work from home if possible from Monday, prompting many offices to cancel festive events such as parties, in a severe blow to the hospitality industry.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2021

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