The Prime Minister’s Press Secretary addressed the staff and presented awards last Christmas at a party on Downing Street that is now being investigated.
Jack Doyle, then assistant director of communications, addressed the meeting on December 18 to 20 to 30 people.
A source told the BBC that there was food, drink and games at the event.
Downing Street said, “There is an ongoing review and we will not make any further comments while it is.”
This event is one of three government officials gatherings from last year that are now under investigation by UK top official Simon Case for possible violations of Covid rules.
Labor vice-chair Angela Rayner said news of Mr. Doyle’s presence “exposed” Mr. Case’s investigation to be a “sham”.
Meanwhile, Lord Geidt, the Prime Minister’s standard advisor, is dissatisfied with the contents of an Electoral Commission report funding the renovation of the Downing Street apartment but is unwilling to step down on it, the BBC understands.
Labor says the report shows that the Prime Minister lied to Lord Geidt when he investigated the Prime Minister’s conduct earlier this year, which Downing Street contested. It was written by Lord Geidt asking him to investigate again.
The Conservative Party was fined £ 17,800 by the commission on Thursday for “incorrectly reporting a donation” that paid for part of the work.
Who is Jack Doyle?
The former Daily Mail political reporter became the Prime Minister’s press secretary in 2020
In April of that year he was promoted to Downing Street Communications Director
He is not the official spokesman for the Prime Minister – but is responsible for how the government gets its message across to the media
It is the role of Alastair Campbell when Labor was in power
Mr Doyle makes between £ 140,000 and £ 144,999 a year
The revelation of Mr Doyle’s speech at the Downing Street gathering follows a few busy days for the administration of Labor accused it of not being honest about these and other events.
ITV News, which first reported that Mr Doyle was present at the December 18 party, said he had also handed out award certificates to staff.
The event took place two days after London entered level 3 lockdown restrictions, which meant telling people not to mix with anyone outside their household or support a bubble indoors.
No. 10 has refused to explain how the party complied with the Covid restrictions then in effect, despite a deepening argument and days of questioning by reporters.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister informed the House of Commons that he had been “repeatedly assured” that there was no party that day and that no Covid rules had been violated.
Government chief whip, Mark Spencer, told BBC Radio Nottingham that Mr Johnson “will not have lied” about parties that were held on Downing Street last year.
He added that the December 18 event was more of a “get-together” than a social gathering and that staff had been discussing how to deal with the coronavirus.
Mr. Spencer defended Mr. Johnson’s handling of the affair, saying that 10 Downing Street was “a huge, huge building, literally with hundreds and hundreds of offices and rooms. No single person can explain what is happening in these buildings. They are huge buildings. “
Government advisor Allegra Stratton resigned Wednesday after an angry backlash to a video she appeared in last December joking about a Christmas party.
In the video made available to ITV News, the Prime Minister’s then press secretary recorded four days after the event on Jan.
Prior to stepping down, Mr Johnson told MPs he was “angry” with the clip and opened an investigation into whether any rules had been broken last Christmas.
Labor has written to Lord Geidt asking him to look into funding for the renovation.
Sources in Westminster wonder if Jack Doyle can stay in his job. That’s partly because one of the problems this week for # 10 was denying and explaining what happened or not.
The ministers and the prime minister himself remain in the Kafka-like position of saying that they are sure that no rules have been broken, but neither do they know what was going on.
If you don’t know what happened, how can you be sure that nothing went wrong?
And if multiple sources have said there was a dozen or so gathering and people who weren’t on the Downing Street payroll were invited, how can that be just a couple of working drinks on a desk in a Covid-proof office?
Read Laura’s blog in full
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who is conducting the investigation into the December 18 rally, is also examining a staff event No. 10 on November 27 last year and a meeting at the Department of Education on December 10.
The investigation could be broadened if there are credible allegations about other events.
After Mr. Doyle was found to have spoken at the December 18 event, Ms. Rayner said, “The government’s internal investigation was exposed as bogus.
“The investigation has only just published its terms of reference, and we are already seeing more details from the media than the cabinet office does about the parties.”
Mr Johnson is also facing a rebellion from Conservative MPs over his plans announced on Wednesday to introduce stricter Covid curbs in England to combat the Omicron variant.
Dozens of Tories have pointed out its additional restrictions ahead of a vote next week, particularly the plans for mandatory Covid passes for nightclubs and major events.
Former Cabinet Secretary Andrew Mitchell said sentiment in the Conservative Party was “sulphurous,” adding, “What we need now is some grip from Number 10.”
Economy Secretary Paul Scully told BBC Breakfast that it had been a “difficult week for the government” and that it had not “conveyed” the announced policy on dealing with Covid and the economy.