BORIS Johnson is fighting to de-escalate a scandal of Barnard Castle proportions following fresh revelations about alleged lockdown-busting Christmas bashes in Number 10.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating footage, newly uncovered by ITV, which shows senior aides joking about a festive gathering just days after it is reported to have taken place last year.

The Prime Minister is also facing the prospect of a Tory revolt at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday afternoon after Conservatives raised the alarm over damning new reports.

And another government department has been embroiled in a similar scandal after admitting to holding a rule-breaking festive event.

Such is the panic among Tory ministers that they cancelled morning broadcast rounds at short notice.

One senior Tory MP even suggested Johnson's job was at risk. They told the BBC: "Every lie just compounds the problem. But lying eventually catches people out. Another awful mess created out of Downing St. Question now in tea room is Boris reaching a tipping point - where he is becoming a liability and no longer an asset?"

Veteran Conservative Sir Roger Gale led the backbench outcry, declaring that the situation bore “all the hallmarks of another ‘Barnard Castle’ moment” – a reference to the Prime Minister’s former aide driving 260 miles during strict lockdown conditions last year.

“No 10 clearly has some serious questions to answer. Fast,” the North Thanet MP tweeted.

WATCH: Ant and Dec get ripped into Boris Johnson over Christmas party claims

A former minister told the Telegraph: "It’s a disaster and some extreme humble pie needs to be eaten. I am absolutely furious because we’ve been trying to make the best of it on the basis of assurances and this kind of thing just can’t happen."

MP Anne Marie Marris added: "Clearly there were rules in place that most of us were diligently following (despite how difficult they were) and they decided to break them. It's not on and, at the very least, they should admit their blatant error and apologise for breaking the rules they imposed on society."

In footage obtained by ITV News, the Prime Minister’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton and adviser Ed Oldfield, along with other aides, were filmed joking about a “fictional” Downing Street party in December 2020.

Stratton is seen answering questions at a mock press conference on December 22 about a party the previous Friday (December 18) – the date of the alleged Covid rule-breaking gathering which is said to have been attended by dozens of colleagues while social mixing indoors was banned in London under Tier 3 restrictions.

Oldfield can be heard asking Stratton: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”

Stratton replied “I went home” before appearing to consider what the correct answer should be.

During the rehearsal, filmed as part of a subsequently-abandoned plan for Stratton to lead televised press briefings, one aide is heard saying: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.”

“Is cheese and wine all right? It was a business meeting,” Stratton replied, to laughter in the room.

Stratton then noted “this is recorded”, adding: “This fictional party was a business meeting … and it was not socially distanced.”

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The Metropolitan Police confirmed officers are reviewing the leaked video in relation to “alleged breaches” of coronavirus regulations.

A Downing Street spokesman commented “There was no Christmas party. Covid rules have been followed at all times.”

After ITV published the footage, Health Secretary Sajid Javid pulled out of national interviews and vaccines minister Maggie Throup cancelled a round of regional television interviews.

Ministers are yet to explain how the alleged bash complied with the rules in place at the time, despite coming under pressure since an initial report in the Daily Mirror.

The newspaper said two events took place in No 10 in the run-up to the festive season last year, including Johnson giving a speech at a leaving do during November’s lockdown.

The other was said to be a staff party in December where party games were played, food and drinks were served, and revelries went on past midnight.

At the time, the Tier 3 rules explicitly banned work Christmas lunches and parties where it is “a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted”.

It comes as the Department for Education (DfE) admitted it held a social gathering of staff in the lead-up to Christmas in contravention to coronavirus social-distancing rules.

The Mirror reported that former education secretary Gavin Williamson threw a party and delivered a short speech at the event, which took place on December 10 while London was in Tier 2, which banned social mixing between households.

The National: Gavin Williamson, the gaffe-prone now former Education Secretary

READ MORE: Downing Street staff joke about Christmas party days after it allegedly happened

A DfE spokeswoman said: “While this was work-related, looking back we accept it would have been better not to have gathered in this way at that particular time.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford warned Johnson his “untenable and he must remove himself from office immediately” if the claims about Number 10 are true.

Labour leader Keir Starmer urged the Prime Minister to “come clean and apologise”.

Both will grill the Tory leader at PMQs, which begins at noon.

The latest developments were branded a “bullet to the chest” of families who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.

Dr Saleyha Ahsan, from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, told BBC Breakfast the saga was “an example of how the Government have run this from the start: One rule for them and the rest of us have to adhere to different rules.”

Ahsan, who said she had been working in north Wales at the time of the mock press conference, said: “Numerous people around the country couldn’t spend those precious last few days, hours, minutes with loved ones. It was heartbreaking. In 14 years in the NHS I’ve never seen anything like it.

“And this latest revelation is just a bullet to the chest, it really is.

“It just demonstrates the lack of regard for the rest of us.”

The doctor explained the saga showed why an independent inquiry into the handling of the pandemic was needed “now”.