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.
The number of children registering for home education in the UK rose by 75% in the first eight months of the current school year, according to BBC research.
Covid testing in schools is hugely disruptive and should be suspended, experts have said, as it emerged that up to 60 per cent of “positive” tests a week are coming back negative when checked.
Under plans to keep schools open, more than 50 million lateral flow tests have been carried out on youngsters, leading to thousands of pupils and their social bubbles being forced to self-isolate for 10 days.
Face masks in the classroom are causing physical harm to children, ministers have been warned amid reports of breathing difficulties, headaches and dizziness.
Children around the country are suffering from a range of side effects including light headedness, fatigue and facial rashes, according to a symptom tracker launched by the parent campaign group UsForThem.
No pupil or student should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.