Downing Street has ‘failed as a collective’ over ‘partygate’, says former aide

A former senior aide to Boris Johnson has accused the Government of “failing as a collective” to uphold the standards it set for the country over the ‘partygate’ scandal.

Writing in The Times, Nikki da Costa, the former director of legislative affairs for both Mr Johnson and Theresa May, revealed that No.10 rejected plans to set up bereavement bubbles which would have allowed close family members to gather to mourn.

The proposal would have allowed people to set up support bubbles had they lost a close daily member or suffered a miscarriage. Ms da Costa says the plans, which would have been rolled out as part of Step 2 in the 2021 roadmap out of lockdown, were dismissed despite determining their “transmission impact would not have been significant”.

No.10 officials reportedly said the plans would “send the wrong message to the public”.

The decision regarding bereavement bubbles was made just weeks before Downing Street staff are reported to have held two drunken leaving parties on the eve of the funeral for the Duke of Edinburgh.

Timeline of ‘partygate’

The PM’s former adviser also hit out at the government for its failure to be “honest an upfront” with the public over lockdown parties. 

“If we in No.10 could be that hard-hearted because we thought it was the right thing to do, then those involved in those kings of decisions lso owed it to the country to be as hard on themselves and their own conduct,” she wrote.

“If No.10 failed in that as a collective, as it seems clear, it needs to be recognised as a failure of and by those at the top.”

Downing Street has so far refused to commit to publishing the Sue Gray report in full, which could be published any day. Last week, the Metropolitan Police requested that the Cabinet Office only publish “minimal reference” to events in the report, fearing full publication could compromise the “integrity” of their investigation. 

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