Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup was laughed at and heckled as she scrambled to defend Number 10’s Christmas party on Question Time last night.

The Tory MP was repeatedly pressed by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce on whether there was a festive gathering while London was in Tier Three last year.

The claims were labelled ‘rumours and heresy’ by her, who added: “It is quite obvious that all guidelines were followed regardless of whether it was business meetings oder whatever.”

A member of the audience recalled feeling’stuck’ in Weston Super-Mare and was unable to travel to London last Christmas. 

It follows Boris Johnson insisting during PMQs on Wednesday that he had ‘followed Covid rules’ as details emerged of ‘boozy lockdown bashes’ in his official residence.

Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup was repeatedly pressed by the BBC's Fiona Bruce on whether there was a festive gathering in No 10 while London was in Tier Three last year

Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup was repeatedly pressed by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce on whether there was a festive gathering in No 10 while London was in Tier Three last year

At one point Bruce, above, asked the audience who wanted to know whether there was a Christmas party, to which nearly everyone raised their hand

Bruce (above) asked his audience if there had been a Christmas party. Nearly everyone answered.

One audience member said: “This year last, my parents were from South London so we couldn’t travel to see them.” Both had Covid. We followed the instructions and did as we were instructed. 

“I am stuck in Weston Super-Mare. Mum and Dad are in South Norwood.” It is then that you are told “They have Christmas parties, while we suffer.”

It makes me sick. It does make me very upset.

He replied, “Well, I understand that people have put up with a lot in the last twenty months.” It was impossible to have anticipated what was about to occur.

Bruce, a BBC host, asked her about the Christmas party. She replied: “Well, the Prime Minister stated quite clearly Wednesday night at PMQs that all guidelines were followed.”

The audience and panel members could then be heard erupting into laughter, before Bruce said: ‘That wasn’t the question that was asked, which I think is why everyone is laughing Maggie. 

“You may want to clarify because we’re here now. Did there ever seem to be a Christmas party?

Ms. Thoroup said, “I wasn’t present”, Bruce replied: “I’m sure that you were briefed prior to you arrived on Maggie.”

Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire could be seen with her head in her hands at one point during the debate on BBC's Question Time last night

Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Thangam was seen at one stage with her head in the hands during last night’s debate on BBC Question Time.

The panel (pictured above) consisted of Throup, Debbonaire, Wendy Chamberlain, Professor Peter Openshaw and Theo Paphitis

Theo Paphitis, Peter Openshaw, Wendy Chamberlain and Debbonaire constituted the panel.

How did it happen?

November 27,Reports say that Johnson gave a speech at the packed meeting for senior aides. “40 to 50” people were there. 

RULES: Indoor gatherings are strictly forbidden unless there is a household bubble involved.

December 18 – Downing Street staffers allegedly hold their own festive party, with the PM not in attendance. The group size can be anywhere from 40-50. 

Tier 3 rules prohibit indoor social events. The rules specifically stated ‘you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity’.  

November 13Reports suggest a smaller third gathering. This could have occurred alongside the second lockdown. 

After that, the host asked audience members if they wanted to know if there was ever a Christmas party. Most people answered.

The MP for Erewash in Derbyshire said: ‘I am not aware of the Christmas party. 

“Number 10, is a place where I work, and all of the guidance has been followed with care.”

After the audience appeared to give a resounding ‘no’ when asked whether that answered the question, she continued: ‘My answer is not going to change because the guidance was followed.’

Bruce added: “But that must mean there weren’t Christmas parties then, because the guidance wasn’t Christmas parties.”

Ms. Throup stated that although this was merely rumour and heresy, it is clear that Number 10 followed all instructions regardless of whether they were business meetings or not.

She made these comments after Sir Keir starmer, who accused Mr Johnson earlier in this week of “taking the British public for fools” in the Commons. He failed to refute claims that there were parties at Number 10 in the lead up to Christmas last year. 

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Downing Street staff were accused by Covid of violating rules when they hosted three Christmas gatherings in 2020.

According to reports, Johnson gave a speech on November 27 at a packed leave-taking party for senior aides.

The second lockdown was in effect at the time, and Britain had banned all indoor social events unless one household bubble was involved.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Johnson of 'taking the British public for fools' in the Commons earlier this week after he failed to rebut claims there had been parties in Number 10 last year

Sir Keir Starmer charged Mr Johnson with ‘taking Britain for fools’ earlier in this week in the Commons after failing to refute claims that there were parties at Number 10 last.

Mr Johnson said 'all guidance was followed completely' as he clashed with Sir Keir at PMQs

As he clashed at PMQs with Sir Keir, Mr Johnson stated that ‘all guidance had been followed entirely’ 

On December 18, Downing Street employees held their own Christmas party with a quiz and Secret Santa. London was then subject to Tier 3 regulations, which outlawed indoor parties and enforced the rule of six outdoors.

The Daily Mirror reported that there were either 40 to 50 people attending each party. They managed to squeeze into small rooms.

Another source claimed that there was another smaller group on the 13th of November – the same night Dominic Cummings left.

While the official spokesperson of the Prime Minister didn’t deny that there was a gathering, he did say: ‘At every stage the rules have been observed.

According to the PM’s press secretary, “We don’t recognize this account because we have stated that Covid rules are followed at all times.”

When asked which sections of the report she denied, she replied: “I don’t want to get into any individual speculation.”

A separate spokesman claimed that Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were rumored to have held private parties at their flat.