We all knew Therese Coffey likes to party hard…
5.5 million families woke up £1040-a-year worse off as their universal credit was cut.
While they were sleeping, the secretary of state for work and pensions was doing karaoke. pic.twitter.com/8OSEN5lwNc
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) October 6, 2021
… but it turns out that she doesn’t confine these activities to the Conservative Party conference.
While the rest of us were in Covid-19 lockdown, and hospitality and office parties were banned, she and political staff at the Department for Work and Pensions in Caxton House, London, were raving it up into the early hours of the morning.
And yes – this does include an event last Christmas, according to the Mirror:
The Mirror has been told ‘gatherings’ in Ms Coffey’s office throughout the pandemic were an open secret, with one source saying “even during lockdown, there were parties all the time.”
Bottles of wine and beer were routinely found between staff members’ salads and sandwiches in fridges at the department, to be drunk at the informal, late-night soirees.
A DWP insider said: “There is a constant flow of booze in the office.”
At one such occasion during last year’s festive season, Ms Coffey handed out Christmas presents to her team.
Challenged about these events a DWP spokesperson didn’t deny them. Instead, it was insisted that “DWP officials followed government guidance” while it was also admitted that a core team “regularly worked late into the evening and on a number of occasions they ate takeaway food and drank some alcohol”.
You’ll like the next bit: “No karaoke took place.”
Maybe not, but an occasion in which staff stayed late into the night drinking alcohol and the Secretary of State handed out presents to them is clearly a social event that was clearly banned, according to government guidance.
Unless the government had different guidance for itself than for the rest of us?
The DWP’s constant bingeing can be added to an ever-growing list which includes Downing Street events on November 13 and possibly 20, December 15 and 18, plus one at the Department for Education while Tier 2 rules were in place, and a “boozy celebration” in November 2020 to mark Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review.
Sunak, Johnson, Gavin Williamson and now Therese Coffey: these Tory ministers are turning into a regular Rogues’ Gallery.