Scottish secretary Alister Jack has said he was not asked to any parties at Downing Street last year – amid controversy over claims No 10 hosted one before Christmas.
It comes after the Daily Mirror newspaper reported that two events took place in No 10 last year in the run-up to the festive season, including Boris Johnson giving a speech at a leaving do during November’s lockdown.
Johnson was last week pressed on the issue in the Commons, but failed to deny that such a party had been held.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman declined to say whether an internal investigation had been carried out, but told reporters: “There was not a party, and Covid rules have been followed at all times.”
The issue was raised as Jack was questioned by MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee on Monday.
Committee chair, SNP MP Pete Wishart, asked: “Were you invited to this Christmas party last year and could you perhaps detail all the events that the Scotland Office have been doing?
“And can you assure us that they were all within the rules and regulations?”
Jack responded: “Entirely within the rules and I’m very confident that I wasn’t at any Christmas parties at Number 10.”
Wishart continued: “You’re very confident you weren’t there?”
Jack repeated: “I was confident I wasn’t there, yeah, yeah.”
Wishart said: “We’ll maybe just leave it at that then.”
Jack replied: “No, no, I wasn’t there, I mean I can assure you I wasn’t there. But I’m confident in my response because; A – I didn’t have to check my diary because B – I hadn’t been asked to any.”
Wishart added: “It’s an event that’s almost like the 60s’ – if you were there, you can’t remember it.”