Downing Street staff told to ‘go out the back’ after Christmas quiz

A Christmas tree stands illuminated outside number 10 Downing Street (Getty Images)A Christmas tree stands illuminated outside number 10 Downing Street (Getty Images)
A Christmas tree stands illuminated outside number 10 Downing Street (Getty Images)

Downing Street staff who stayed to take part in a Christmas quiz last year - while strict coronavirus restrictions were in place - were allegedly told to “go out the back”.

The Daily Mirror reported that the quiz on December 15, which the Prime Minister helped to host, had been held virtually but many took part from the office.

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No 10 previously said that during the various lockdowns Downing Street staff were “often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response.”

Therefore “those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks”.

However, the Mirror said a message sent by No 10’s head of HR on the night advised that those who had stayed behind to take part “go out the back” when they left.

‘Professor Quiz Whitty’ and ‘Hands, Face, First Place’

It comes after the Sunday Mirror published a picture of the Prime Minister hosting the quiz flanked by colleagues - one draped in tinsel and the other wearing a Santa hat.

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Quiz team names that evening reportedly included "Professor Quiz Whitty", “The 6 Masketeers” and "Hands, Face, First Place."

A Government spokesperson said: “Given there is an ongoing review, it would be inappropriate to comment while that is ongoing.”

Tier 2 restrictions in London on December 15 said there could be no mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles, and a maximum of six people outside.

The newspaper quoted a source who said many staff were huddled by computers in their Downing Street offices, conferring on questions and drinking alcohol while the quiz was taking place.

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Cabinet Secretary Simon Case has been tasked with investigating alleged gatherings or parties held in Government buildings during restrictions.

It has been suggested he could come back with his findings as early as this week.

Shaun Bailey quits as Mirror published Xmas party picture

Meanwhile, former Conservative mayoral hopeful Shaun Bailey quit as chairman of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee on Tuesday.

His resignation as chairman of the committee came shortly before The Mirror published a photograph of him and other staff at a party in Conservative headquarters.

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The image showed 24 people with drinks, and buffet food laid out.

The Tories previously admitted the party had taken place on December 14, when London was in Tier 2 restrictions, and said that staff had been disciplined.

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