Christmas party questions: Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey's department in latest allegations

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey is the latest Government Minister whose department has been embroiled in allegations of rule-breaking parties during last year's festive season.

Her Work and Pensions department confirmed that there were a number of times where staff stayed late, drank alcohol and ordered food to the office while Covid restrictions were in place.

On one evening the Conservative Minister also handed out Christmas presents to her team.

The department stressed that the desks are socially distanced and there was no 'party atmosphere' on these nights.

The DWP has confirmed there were times when alcohol was consumed in a workspace outside the Cabinet minister’s Whitehall office but stressed it took place while work was continuing past normal employment hours.

A DWP spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic, DWP officials have followed Government guidance while continuing to deliver vital services for millions of people.

“Staff worked from home where possible but a core team working directly to the Secretary of State regularly worked from the office, in accordance with the Covid-19 rules as they evolved.

“The team regularly worked late into the evening and on a number of occasions they ate takeaway food and drank some alcohol. No karaoke took place.”

Asked about the Sunday Mirror’s suggestion that Ms Coffey gave presents to staff while they stayed late one night over last year’s festive period, the spokesman replied: “On one occasion close to Christmas, the Secretary of State gave gifts to her core team, as she does every year.”