Sajid Javid roasted for saying he missed media rounds as he was ‘upset’ by the Allegra Stratton clip

Sajid Javid roasted for saying he missed media rounds as he was ‘upset’ by the Allegra Stratton clip

Health secretary, Sajid Javid is being roasted for his reason for missing media rounds on Wednesday, after revealing he was “upset” by the leaked video of adviser Allegra Stratton joking with Downing Street staff about a Christmas party last year.

On December 18 2020, a Christmas party apparently took place inside Number 10, while London was under tier 3 restrictions. As a result of the video emerging, Stratton has since resigned from her position as the prime minister’s press secretary.

Over the past week, Downing Street has repeatedly denied that a party took place. On Tuesday, Johnson told reporters: “I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.”

But then Johnson apologised “unreservedly” at PMQs on Wednesday for the leaked footage before announcing an inquiry into whether there had indeed been a rule-breaking party held on December 18.

Following the fallout from the footage, no government minister was available to the media on Wednesday morning (December 8). Javid was set to appear on BBC, ITV, and Sky News for their breakfast coverage but withdrew when the video emerged, The Independent reported.

Though today (December 9) he was able to make the media rounds, but couldn’t avoid the line of questioning as to why he didn’t show up for his interviews yesterday.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

On BBC Breakfast this morning, presenter Naga Munchetty quizzed Javid over his absence and put to him: “You, the health minister were expected to be on media outlets yesterday morning, including this one, why didn’t you?”

“Because to be honest, I was upset by that video,” Javid replied. “The video you would have seen, viewers would have seen, I was upset by it and I think a lot of your viewers would have been upset by it - the prime minister was.”

Javid felt that the “prime minister’s team should be given the space and time to respond” and noted that the prime minister has ordered an investigation.

When Munchetty then asked him what in particular made him upset about the video, Javid responded: “I think like most people, just looking at the video and seeing people laughing and smiling about Christmas parties.

“I just don’t think it was appropriate and I didn’t like it for that reason and I can think of many of my own constituents during that time that couldn’t see their loved ones and couldn’t go to funerals and things and that was awful at the time for my constituents and it upset me.”

He added that he’s now “pleased” that there is going to be an investigation by the cabinet secretary so “he can get to the bottom of it.”

“So you were too upset to do the job of delivering a health message to the UK?” Munchetty probed further.

“No, I wanted to - I wouldn’t put it like that,” Javid answered.

“I would say I wanted to give the time and space for the government to respond to that video and I think that was appropriate and I’m glad they have responded in the way that was set out by the PM yesterday.”

He also gave the same reason in interviews with Sky News and Good Morning Britain this morning, telling Sky’s Niall Paterson: “I didn’t appear because I saw the video and it upset me.”

And also telling GMB’s Susanna Reid and Adil Ray the same thing.

Viewers have since taken to Twitter to share what they think about the health secretary’s excuse behind missing the media rounds yesterday - and they’re not buying it.

There have also been reports of gatherings that allegedly took place on 13 and 27 November. In a press conference on Wednesday (December 8), Johnson seemingly admitted that the cabinet secretary would be able to go further than just reviewing what happened on December 18 and “look at other things.”

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have said they will not investigate the Downing Street Christmas party - despite receiving “a significant amount of correspondence” over the alleged breaches at Number 10, saying that they do not “provide evidence of a breach” of Covid rules.

The Conversation (0)