MP Grant Shapps claims he had 'no knowledge' of staff's Christmas party

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps is backing the government on Brexit. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Mirror reported that Mr Shapp's senior civil servants "boozed and danced" in Whitehall last Christmas when England was in lockdown. - Credit: PA

Staff working for Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps held an illegal Christmas party last December, it has been revealed. 

The Mirror newspaper has reported that on December 16, 2020, Mr Shapps' senior civil servants were "boozing and dancing" in a Whitehall office, London, from 5pm onwards.

Senior staff from the Cabinet Minister's private office planned the festive do and almost 12 people attended.

Meanwhile, the rest of the capital was under Tier 3 lockdown, which banned people from mixing with those outside of their household. 295 people living in Welwyn Hatfield have died with COVID-19 on their death certificates since the start of the pandemic.

Mr Shapps claims to have no idea that a party took place. A spokesperson said that on the day of the gathering he “was here in his constituency, working for his constituents and tending to his parents".

The revelation adds to the growing list of the Tories' lockdown-evading parties in the run-up to Christmas last year.

We asked Mr Shapps how he was unaware that senior members of his team were celebrating Christmas after work and whether those who broke the rules will face consequences.

A spokesperson for Mr Shapps told Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Grant had no knowledge of and would never have condoned the small gathering of members of Department of Transport staff that took place on December 16 last year.

"It may have been a low-key, socially-distanced event but it was still clearly inappropriate, given lockdown regulations at the time. If Grant had been aware it was about to take place, he would have banned it immediately.

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“Grant is keenly aware of the hurt and offence such gatherings cause to people who were separated from their own loved ones by lockdown at that time.

"He was personally affected by these restrictions himself, being unable to visit his seriously ill father in hospital because of the lockdown.

“On the day this unauthorised gathering took place Grant was here in his constituency, working for his constituents and tending to his parents.

"He has made his deep concern about this unauthorised gathering clear and the matter has been referred to the DfT Permanent Secretary for investigation.”

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