Wine Time Fridays banned in Downing Street as Boris Johnson's spokesman apologises for party denials

Downing Street's infamous "Wine Time Fridays" have been cancelled, Number 10 has said, after the regular events were referenced in Sue Gray's damning Partygate report.

Ms Gray condemned the "excessive consumption of alcohol" in government during the coronavirus pandemic, which she said was "not appropriate" in any workplace.

The top civil servant who investigated several Downing Street parties mentioned the word "wine" 20 times in her 60 page report, which included WhatsApp messages of officials referring to the weekly drinking events as "WTF" (Wine Time Fridays).

A cleaner who attended one room in Number 10 following a party said she found red wine spilled on one wall and on a number of boxes of photocopier paper.

And at a separate event Ms Gray noted there had been "excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals".

One individual was sick and there was a minor altercation between two other individuals, she said.

The prime minister's official spokesperson said new guidelines for civil servants made clear that "excessive" alcohol consumption in the workplace was not appropriate.

Drinking alcohol is now only permitted in certain limited circumstances, such as at official receptions, the spokesperson said.

Asked whether Wine Time Fridays were still going ahead, they said: "There are new rules with regard to alcohol consumption in No 10 and new guidance across Whitehall. Social events will continue but obviously within the new rules."

"Alcohol consumption in No 10 for staff is not permitted. The only distinction being for formal events - visits from world leaders.

"The guidance makes clear that excessive consumption of alcohol or sufficient consumption to impair judgement is not appropriate. It reflects that occasional and limited consumption of alcohol in the workplace may be appropriate in some circumstances."

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Asked about any punishment for officials who misbehaved in No 10, the spokesperson said: "I can't get into individual disciplinary issues but suffice to say there will be further work with regards to disciplinary action."

The spokesperson also apologised over the handling of the partygate row after Sue Gray's report said a number of events involved staff from the press office which had denied any parties had taken place.

"There were failings both in terms of what happened and in terms of how it was handled," the spokesman told reporters at a Downing Street briefing.

"The prime minister has apologised for that and obviously I am happy to apologise for that as well."