Boris Johnson’s most senior communications adviser made a speech at a Downing Street party last year that is now under investigation, it is understood.
Jack Doyle, who was deputy director of communications at the time, is said to have thanked and handed out awards to No 10 staff, ITV News has been told.
Doyle, now the Prime Minister’s press chief, is said to have addressed up to 50 people in attendance at the alleged party on December 18.
Three separate gatherings in government buildings are being investigated by the cabinet secretary, Simon Case, the country’s top civil servant.
In footage obtained by ITV News, the Prime Minister’s former press secretary Allegra Stratton and adviser Ed Oldfield, along with other aides, were filmed joking about a “fictional” Downing Street party in December 2020.
In parliament on Wednesday, Johnson said he was “sickened and furious” by the video of senior aides laughing about a Christmas “cheese and wine” night.
On Friday night, ITV News reported that sources familiar with the situation maintain that senior figures thanked staff at the end of every week, and this was a routine speech.
However, at the alleged December 18 gathering, it is reported that multiple awards were given out to the team, who received paper certificates.
Doyle, a former Daily Mail and Press Association journalist, is said to have handed out the awards.
The development follows the resignation of Allegra Stratton, who appears in the leaked video making jokes about the “fictitious” party.
Nicola Sturgeon has called for Boris Johnson to resign amidst controversy over the party claims.
Johnson has stated there was no party and that he had been assured that no coronavirus restrictions had been broken.
Cabinet secretary Mr Case has been instructed to investigate the December 18 party, an event on November 27, and another at the education department on December 10.