No 10 denies Boris and Carrie Johnson broke lockdown rules by having friend stay at Christmas

Downing Street insists couple ‘have followed coronavirus rules at all times’
Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Monday 18 October 2021 13:38
Boris Johnson urges Britons to have a merry 'little' Christmas

Downing Street has denied Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie broke lockdown rules to have a close friend stay over during the Christmas period as coronavirus infections surged.

According to reports, the political campaigner and government adviser Nimco Ali spent time with the Johnsons in No 10 over the festive break.

Just days before the planned relaxation of Covid rules for Christmas in 2020, the prime minister imposed Tier 4 restrictions across London and vast swathes of south-east England, forcing millions to cancel their plans.

In response to increasing infection rates and a new strain of the virus, the mixing of households indoors was banned, socialising outside was restricted to one other person, and non-essential businesses were forced to close their doors.

Certain exemptions were in place for those in bubbles who needed to travel for education or childcare purposes, while those living on their own were able to pair up with another household.

Raising questions for the prime minister, however, the US magazine Harper’s reported that Ms Ali, who was given an official advisory role at the Home Office in December 2020, “spent Christmas with the couple at No 10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings”.

But a No 10 spokesperson told The Independent: “The prime minister and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”

A separate spokesperson for Ms Johnson’s issued a near identical statement, saying: “The PM and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”

Downing Street has not specifically denied Ms Ali spent the holiday with the Johnsons and their young son, though it is not clear whether the campaigner fell into one of the exemptions from restrictions.

Responding to the reports on social media, Ms Ali said she had received racist abuse since “untrue story” first appeared, adding: “No I did not break any rules but you knew that and just wanted a reason to tweet hate”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in