Press Conference Rehearsal: Consequences for Staff

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 13th January 2022.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

What consequences staff have faced who were involved in a video reported in the media in December 2021, which showed members of the Prime Minister’s office rehearsing for a press conference.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Paymaster General

Following the long-standing practice of successive Administrations, Her Majesty’s Government do not comment on individual disciplinary matters. The terms of reference for the Cabinet Office’s investigation have been published and the Government have committed to publishing the findings of that investigation.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

But now we know that there were parties at Downing Street in lockdown and the Prime Minister was present. It is serious. He knowingly breached the rules that he himself set for the country. He broke the law, and over recent weeks he has told the House things that turned out not to be true, breaking the ministerial code. Allegra Stratton paid the price for joking about parties at Downing Street—parties that the Prime Minister attended. Why is it always the little people who get the chop to save this unsaveable Prime Minister?

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Paymaster General

As the hon. Gentleman knows, this matter is under the purview of a senior civil servant—the second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who is an expert having been director general of propriety and ethics. She is carefully looking into the matter. She is a highly respected civil servant with probity, independence and integrity, and she will report in due course, swiftly. So the hon. Gentleman will no doubt wish to wait before he jumps to any unwarranted and unevidenced conclusions.