Allegra Stratton has stepped down as the government’s spokesperson for the Cop26 climate summit after footage emerged of her joking about a party at Downing Street during the peak of lockdown rules in December last year.
In a statement sent to journalists and read out to TV crews in front of her home, Boris Johnson’s former press secretary said she deeply regretted joking with other No 10 aides during a rehearsal for a later-dropped plan for filmed Downing Street press conferences.
“The British people have made immense sacrifices in the battle against Covid 19. I now fear that my comments in the leaked video of 20 December may have become a distraction against that fight,” she said.
“My remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey. That was never my intention. I will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and offer my profound apologies to all of your for them.”
Saying she remained proud of her work on Cop26, Stratton said: “I understand the anger and frustration that people feel. To all of you who lost loved ones, endured intolerable loneliness and struggled with your businesses – I am sorry and this afternoon I have offered my resignation to the prime minister.”
Stratton moved to her Cop26 role after the planned Downing Street briefings were axed. A former journalist for the Guardian, BBC and ITV, Stratton also worked for the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, before switching to No 10.