Boris Johnson’s senior advisors delivered a speech, and awarded awards at Downing Street’s controversial Christmas party. Since then, he has been briefing the media that the party was not held.
Jack Doyle was then the PM’s Deputy Director for Communications. He is said to have given a “thank you” speech to approximately 50 guests who attended the party on December 18, last year.
The hugely criticised event is now the subject of an internal investigation by the Cabinet Office.
Reports say that Mr Doyle, now Number 10’s most senior spin doctor, thanked staff working at No10 ‘like he does every week’.
ITV News claimed however that he gave paper certificates as part a joke awards ceremony to the members of his communications team.
The response to allegations about the party has been managed by Mr Doyle. Number 10, which has been seen denying for one week, that this ever took place, although the Prime Minister gave mixed messages when asked.
Jack Doyle, Prime Minister’s Top Spin Doctor, was said to be a thank you speech speaker to at least 50 guests who were there for the Downing Street Bash.
Prior to joining Downing Street Mr Doyle worked previously as a journalist at newspapers and the Press Association.
After James Slack left as Communications Director, he was promoted to the position of deputy editor-in chief at The Sun.
The incident comes just days following Allegra Ston, the press secretary to the PM, was captured on camera laughing at the idea of holding a Christmas party, while they prepare responses for journalists who asked them questions.
Since then Ms. Stratton has resigned in tears and Mr. Johnson has apologised for his actions, stating that he was ‘furious to have seen the video’.
Boris Johnson ordered Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary, to investigate claims that the last Friday before Christmas was a very chaotic time.
He also asked Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, to investigate whether events in Number 10 last year broke strict lockdown rules, but added he has been ‘repeatedly reassured’ there was no party.
However, reports this week suggest that there may have been three additional parties including Downing Street staff and Cabinet Office employees.
There are said to have been two separate leaving dos for Communications Director Lee Cain and Cleo Watson, a protégé of Dominic Cummings’, in November.
A source told the Daily Mail that the event had been an impromptu leaving do for Cleo Watson (pictured with Cummings on December 17, 2019), an adviser who had effectively been Mr Cummings’ sidekick during his time in Downing Street
According to some reports, festivities began earlier with Lee Cain’s departure as the prime minister’s director of communications. An alleged speech was given by Mr Johnson at the event
Britain was under the control of the second lockdown at that time. All indoor social gatherings were banned, unless there was a single household bubble.
According to Daily Mirror, there was 40-50 people at each party.
It is believed that there was a Christmas quiz organized by staff from the Cabinet Office at one point in December.
Staff were said to have arrived at the office wearing Christmas jumpers ahead of the event, and were unaware ‘how ridiculous’ it was to hold a quiz while the country was in lockdown.
Although some quiz takers used Zoom to access the site, BBC reports that the majority of those who attended the event in person were seated in six-person groups.
According to one source, Dan Rosenfield was the newly appointed chief of staff for the Prime Minister. He told The Times that it was the first time that many of them had met him.