The No 10 Christmas party was planned for three weeks with invitations sent to officials and advisers on WhatsApp while the UK was in full lockdown, The Times has been told.
Invitations to last year’s event were circulated at the end of November, asking people to attend the press office’s “secret Santa” gathering with an exchange of gifts. The invitation said it would be held on December 18 and that there would be food and wine.
The messages are likely to form part of an inquiry by Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, who is seeking to establish whether the event was a party and therefore represented a breach of lockdown rules. Case has said he is prepared to hand over any evidence to the police.