The prime minister’s now director of communications addressed staff and handed out awards at a party in Downing Street last Christmas that is now under investigation, 有报道.
Jack Doyle, who was then deputy director of communications at No 10, addressed up to 50 people at the gathering on 18 十二月 2020, ITV News reported.
Doyle spoke to the press office to thank them for their work, as he did every week, and presented some awards to mark the team’s efforts, 有人声称.
Downing Street and Doyle have been approached for comment.
Political commentators have said Doyle’s presence at the party is significant because as director of communications he would have been behind the government’s confused messaging since the revelations of the party surfaced in the Daily Mirror.
Ministers have repeatedly told reporters they did not know what happened or if a party took place – but were sure no rules were broken.
Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that an internal investigation led by the cabinet secretary, Simon Case, would look into reports of a staff gathering held in Downing Street just days before Christmas, when London was under tier 3 Covid restrictions.
The investigation was subsequently widened to include another festive celebration and a reported staff leaving do.
After it emerged Doyle reportedly spoke at the event, the Labour deputy leader, 安吉拉·雷纳, 说: “The government’s internal investigation has been exposed as the sham it is. The investigation has only just published its terms of reference, and we are already seeing more details from the media than the Cabinet Office about the parties.”
Alongside the alleged party on 18 十二月, Case will include in his review a confirmed gathering at the Department for Education’s Whitehall headquarters on 10 去年十二月, and a reported leaving event for a No 10 aide – allegedly attended by Johnson – on 27 十一月.
The terms of reference for the investigation, 周四发布, said “where there are credible allegations relating to other gatherings, these may be investigated”.
The two alleged events in December coincide with when mixing between households in London was restricted, with England in a month-long lockdown in November.
Case’s inquiry was ordered by the prime minister after a leaked video emerged showing Downing Street aides laughing about a “fictional” party at No 10 五年内 2020.