Downing Street Christmas quiz: No 10 staff told to ‘go out the back’ after festive quiz

The Mirror reported that quiz team names that evening included "Professor Quiz Whitty" and "Hands, Face, First Place"

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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.

At a glance: 5 key points

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

What the Government said about the new Christmas quiz allegations

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

What restrictions were in place at the time of the quiz?

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.

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.

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.

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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