The Secretary of Health was due to tour the radio and television studios this morning to mark one year since the launch of the vaccine. Mr. Javid was to appear on the Today program on Radio Four, BBC One, Sky News and Times Radio.
But after video leaked last night of Downing Street aides joking about a lockdown party, he pulled out at the last minute.
The planned appearances of Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Environment Secretary George Eustice and Vaccine Minister Maggie Throup have also been withdrawn for today.
In footage obtained by ITV News last night, the then prime minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, can be seen participating in a mock press conference.
The rehearsal was for plans to hold regular American-style televised press conferences; the idea was later scrapped.
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Ms Stratton is seen answering questions on Dec. 22 about a party the Friday before, the date of the alleged Covid rule-breaking meeting said to have been attended by dozens of colleagues, while the social mix in Interiors was banned in London under Level 3 restrictions.
Jokingly, Ms. Stratton says the “fictitious” party was “not socially estranged.”
His appearances were canceled shortly after the video emerged last night, with no replacement government minister volunteering for an interview.
Express.co.uk understands that No10 had ‘penciled’ a televised coronavirus briefing to mark a year since the first person in the UK was hit by Covid.
The press conference is unlikely to take place now.
Downing Street still says that no illegal gatherings took place last year.
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After last night’s video emerged, a spokesperson said: “There was no Christmas party. Covid rules have been followed at all times.”
Labor has taken advantage of the leak to attack the government.
Sir Keir Starmer said last night: “People across the country followed the rules even when it meant being separated from their families, locked up and, tragically for many, unable to say goodbye to loved ones.
“They had the right to expect that the government was doing the same.
“Lying and laughing at those lies is a shame.
“The Prime Minister must now clarify and apologize.
“It can’t be one rule for conservatives and another for everyone else.”
While the government has been accused of hiding this morning, Johnson will be forced to make a public lunchtime appearance when he is in the House of Commons for PMQ.
Sir Keir focused his questioning last week on claims of a lockdown party. He is likely to question the Prime Minister on the matter again today.