Downing Street Christmas party: No 10 staff told to leave 'by the back door' during party last December

A report has revealed that a senior official urged staff to leave Number 10 'by the back door’ during a party last Christmas breaching lockdown rules.

The exterior of 10 Downing Street, where it is reported staff left from the 'back door', according to a recent report (Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas, PA).
The exterior of 10 Downing Street, where it is reported staff left from the 'back door', according to a recent report (Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas, PA).

An email seen and reported by the Mirror reveals organisers had planned days in advance for some staff to enjoy a “virtual quiz” in person at a Downing Street office.

At 9.39pm on December 15, the Mirror revealed Number 10’s head of HR sent a message to the chat group being used for the quiz, which read: “Go out the back.”

Boris Johnson surprised attendees of the quiz by appearing on their screens halfway through to ask questions for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Last week, Mr Johnson said he was “sickened and furious” to see the video of Downing Street staff making jokes about lockdown rules.

The video showed Allegra Stratton, Mr Johnson’s then communications chief, joking with other members of staff about a party in Number 10 on December 18.

At the time of the party, London was then under Tier 2 regulations, banning any social mixing between households.

The Mirror has also released images showing another party of 24 people crowded together in a room in Westminster for an event organised by Shaun Bailey’s mayoral campaign.

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Number 10 insisted the event, held on December 15 2020, was a “virtual quiz”, however admitted “those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks.”

Mr Bailey has since quit as chair of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee after being approached by the Mirror.

It comes as the Metropolitan police were allegedly called to a Christmas party after an alarm was triggered in Downing Street.

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The Met Police has so far not investigated the allegations, saying that there was not enough evidence.

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