Now Gavin Williamson admits hosting his own lockdown-breaking Christmas bash: Ex-minister ‘welcomed up to two dozen staff for drinks and canapés at Department for Education on Dec 10 – as nation rages over claims of Downing Street party

  • According to reports, the then education secretary hosted a London party for employees and gave a brief speech. 
  • This was December 10, while London was still in Tier 2. London had banned indoor social mixing among households.
  • Staff from the party involved were ‘already present in the office, and had previously worked together during the pandemic.
  • A source claimed that the gathering was reckless. However, DfE admitted the fact that it did take place.
  • It came as video emerged of No 10 officials joking on December 22 about another lockdown-busting party


Today, Gavin Williamson was accused of hosting a Christmas party for up to twenty-four people within the Department for Education offices. This is in violation of Covid-19 social ditancing rules.

On December 10, 2013, the then-education secretary, allegedly hosted a party. He also gave a speech. The event occurred while London was still in Tier 2, which prohibits indoor social mixing.

Amid claims in the Daily Mirror that the event featured drinks and canapés, Government officials said the party involved staff who were ‘already present at the office and who had worked together throughout the pandemic’.

Williamson was said to have addressed the ministers before they’mingled with’ each other and drunk wine. According to one source, it was referred to as being’reckless’ and DfE confirmed that there was a social event.

Officials stated that the meeting was also intended to thank the staff who helped during the pandemic, but they acknowledged it wouldn’t have been right to gather in this manner at that time.

Sources said that there was a lot of people who gathered at the cafe to drink wine and mix. A second source added that the host hosted a party when people thought about whether or not they would be able to spend Christmas with family.

The incident occurred as Downing Street was experiencing crisis today after video surfaced of Downing Street officials joke about an earlier lockdown-busting party on December 18, which happened days before. However, they claim that this did not happen. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

The Department for Education is based in the Sanctuary Buildings in London

Gavin Williamson, former education secretary (left), is seen outside Downing Street this November 25, 2018. According to reports, he hosted a Department for Education Christmas party in their London offices at the Sanctuary Buildings (right).

MailOnline was told by a DfE spokesperson that a meeting of coworkers took place on December 10, 2020 in London’s DfE building. This occurred at a time in London when Tier 2 restrictions were in effect.

“The event was held to express gratitude for the efforts of those who helped during the pandemic. All those present brought drinks and snacks. No outsiders or support staff were allowed to attend.

“While we understand that this gathering was necessary for work, it is regrettable that this happened at this time.

The video of the second party on December 22 shows Boris Johnson’s former press secretary Allegra Stratton giggling and laughing as she is asked about the event during a mock media conference.

The footage was filmed last December 22 – four days after the alleged ‘boozy’ party and when London was under strict Tier 3 coronavirus curbs. 

Separately, a video emerged of No 10 officials joking about another lockdown-busting party. It shows Boris Johnson’s former press secretary Allegra Stratton giggling and laughing as she is asked about the event during a mock media conference

A separate video was released showing No10 officials laughing about another lockdown busting party. The video shows Boris Johnson’s ex-press secretary Allegra Stanton laughing and giggling as she answers questions about the incident during mock media conferences 

This revelation comes after a week filled with tortured deniations from No 10, involving allegations that employees had exchanged secret Santa gifts and partying past midnight.

Leaked footage from ITV News shows Miss Stratton laughing with her assistants about cheese and wine, suggesting that this ‘fictional event’ was ‘not socially detached’.

Miss Stratton, who is still on the No 10 payroll earning £125,000 a year, was practising for planned TV media briefings, which were later axed.

At the time of the alleged event, on December 18, Christmas parties were outlawed – on pain of £10,000 fines – and many families were even barred from visiting dying loved ones. The capital bans indoor mixing with members of other households.

Downing Street maintained last night that there had not been a Christmas party and that all coronavirus regulations were observed. Ministers, however, were shocked by the shocking video. One minister privately described it as “appalling”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits HMP Isis in Greenwich, South East London, yesterday

Boris Johnson visited HMP Isis in Greenwich yesterday, South East London.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pictured outside Downing Street on December 1 this year

Pictured outside Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on December 1, this year

According to insiders, the public could be angered by the exposure of toxic footage. This is similar to Dominic Cummings’ fury at Barnard Castle during the initial lockdown.

Insiders at Downing Street admitted that the video was an ‘error’ and said: ‘No 10, aides laugh about their party, as thousands of people cry for their deceased.

Becky Kummer of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said that ‘There are no words to explain how distressing and shameful hearing Boris Johnson’s teams laughing about breaking rules, while other people could only follow their lead and say farewell to loved ones via a screen. It is people acting like they have the upper hand.

Scotland Yard stated that it knew about the footage. A senior officer who is investigating the case will examine the content of the video over the next days, it’s understood. An investigation is not underway.