A report claims Boris Johnson and his wife were joined by political campaigner Nimco Ali for the 2020 festive period, despite the PM introducing tough social distancing rules
Image: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street)
Downing Street faces questions today over whether Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie spent last Christmas with a friend in No10.
A report claims the couple’s friend, political campaigner Nimco Ali, joined them for the 2020 festive period despite tough social distancing rules being in force in London amid a huge surge in coronavirus cases.
No10 and Mrs Johnson’s spokeswoman denied Covid-19 rules had been broken.
But neither denied that Ms Ali joined the couple last Christmas.
The allegations first appeared in the US in Harper’s Magazine which claimed that Ms Ali, who is godmother to the Johnsons’ 17-month-old son Wilfred, “spent Christmas with the couple at No10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings”.
The article was written by Lara Prendergast, executive editor of The Spectator magazine, which Mr Johnson edited before entering politics.
A No10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”
Mrs Johnson’s spokeswoman issued an almost identical comment, telling the Mirror: “The PM and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”
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However, neither Mrs Johnson’s spokeswoman nor the No10 spokesman responded to a specific question about whether Ms Ali spent Christmas with the pair.
The PM’s official spokeswoman is set to be quizzed about the PM and Mrs Johnson’s arrangements over the last festive period when he fields journalists’ questions tomorrow.
Under the curbs the PM imposed just a week before Christmas, the planned relaxation of Covid rules for the festive season was scrapped for large parts of south-east England – and cut to just Christmas Day for the rest of the country.
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Tier four restrictions were slapped on London, Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire – meaning people could not mix indoors with anyone not from their household.
Social mixing was cut to meeting one person in an open public space, unless people lived with them or they were part of their existing support bubble.
Last October, Ms Ali, who is Mrs Johnson’s best pal, was handed a key job as a Home Office adviser on tackling violence against women and girls.
The post, said to be paid £350-a-day, was not advertised.
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Announcing the role, Home Secretary Priti Patel said at the time: “Nimco Ali’s dedication to raising awareness of the sickening practice of Female Genital Mutilation and advocacy for victims of gender-based violence, means she is ideally placed to advise the Government on tackling these appalling crimes.”
Ms Ali said last year: “I am delighted to independently advise the UK government on its pivotal efforts to end violence against women and girls.”