Under-fire PM hosted Downing Street Christmas quiz last year during lockdown

11 December 2021, 22:35 | Updated: 12 December 2021, 07:49

Boris Johnson hosted a quiz last Christmas
Boris Johnson hosted a quiz last Christmas. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson faces more questions about alleged Downing Street socialising during last year's lockdowns after it emerged he hosted a virtual quiz before Christmas flanked by colleagues.

The embattled prime minister is already facing huge anger over claims staff at No10 held a festive party despite London having been plunged into Covid restrictions that banned most socialising - and later forced many to scrap their plans to see loved ones.

Now, The Sunday Mirror has obtained a photo it says shows Mr Johnson reading questions on a screen, flanked by two staff members, on December 15 last year.

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The capital was in Tier 2 restrictions at the time, which told households not to mix indoors, while the Gov.uk Twitter account told a user on the social media service that "you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier".

A Downing Street spokesman said: "This was a virtual quiz. Downing Street staff were often required to be in the office to work on the pandemic response so those who were in the office for work may have attended virtually from their desks.

"The Prime Minister briefly took part virtually in a quiz to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year."

Huge anger has erupted over allegations about Downing Street socialising in the run up to Christmas, with one poll by Opinium for the Observer giving Labour a nine point lead over the Tories, its largest gap since 2014.

Mr Johnson has insisted he believes all Covid guidance was adhered to but an investigation into what happened in December last year is under way.

The quiz reportedly took place three days before the party is alleged to have gone ahead.

It has also been reported Treasury staff who worked on the Autumn Spending Review last year had drinks while England was in lockdown.

This week, Mr Johnson was accused of introducing Plan B Covid measures, a response to the Omicron variant, as a distraction from negative headlines about Downing Street last December.

It is said more than 60 Conservatives are upset at the imposition of the measures, leaving the PM facing a sizeable potential rebellion.

Earlier this week, it was revealed more than half of Brits want Mr Johnson to resign while a third of Tories want him to go.