politics

Official who wrote Covid rules admits having 'boozy' leaving bash in new parties scandal


Kate Josephs describes herself as a ‘proud public servant’ and a ‘believer in getting things done’ in her Twitter bio. She has apologised ‘unreservedly’ for attending the party.

An official who was in charge of writing up the nation’s Covid restrictions has admitted to having a leaving do in December 2020 when indoor socialising was banned.

Kate Josephs, the former Director General of the Government’s Covid Taskforce, was given a grand send off in the Cabinet Office “with drinks”.

This lockdown party took place on December 17 2020, the day before Number 10’s official Christmas Party was held on December 18 2020.

On December 16 London moved to Tier 3 which banned all indoor mixing except in household bubbles.

Bars, pubs and restaurants were also closed and Brits were urged to work from home if they could do so.

Ms Josephs left her position as DG of the Covid Taskforce on December 18 2020. It is unclear if she is still CEO of Sheffield City Council.






Boris Johnson apologised for attending ‘BYOB’ drinks during the nation’s first lockdown

Her apology on Twitter comes days after the Prime Minister apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” party in May 2020 – during the country’s first lockdown.

It is understood this this Cabinet Office leaving do will be part of Whitehall enforcer Sue Gray’s investigation into Downing Street lockdown parties.

Ms Gray is not expected to publish the findings of her inquiry until next week.

Apologising on Twitter, Ms Josephs said: “As people know I previously worked in the Cabinet Office COVID Taskforce where I was Director General from July 2020 to December 18, 2020.

“I have been cooperating fully with the Cabinet Office investigations and I do not want to pre-empt the findings of the investigation.

“However as Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council I am responsible for leading the organisation and working with partners across the city and region to support our Covid response and recovery.

“That is why I have decided to make a statement.”

Ms Josephs made her Twitter statement after she was contacted by The Telegraph.







Boris Johnson samples an Isle of Harris Gin
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

A source told the newspaper then Cabinet Secretary Simon Case was invited to the event on December 17. The Cabinet Office said “categorically” he did not attend.

Her statement adds: “On the evening of 17 December I gathered with colleagues that were at work that day, with drinks, in our office in the Cabinet Office to mark my leaving the Civil Service.

“I am truly sorry that I did this and for the anger that people will feel as a result. Sheffield has suffered greatly during this pandemic, and I apologise unreservedly.

“The specific facts of this event will be considered in the context of the investigation. I did not attend any events at 10 Downing Street.”

The Mirror understands so far, five Tory MPs have called for the PM to quit.

Douglas Ross, Andrew Bridgen, Sir Roger Gale, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes all say it’s time for a new leader after the PM admitted spending 25 minutes at a May 2020 garden party.

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