Suffolk MP Therese Coffey denies hosting karaoke parties in lockdown

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has denied hosting karaoke parties in the Covid lockdown

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has denied hosting karaoke parties in the Covid lockdown - Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has denied breaking coronavirus restrictions by hosting karaoke parties at her Cabinet office in lockdown.

The Sunday Mirror reported staff and officials frequently drank after work until the early hours of the morning at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), of which Dr Coffey is Secretary of State.

The newspaper claimed some of these evenings took place while hospitality and office parties were banned under Covid regulations.

While the DWP has confirmed alcohol has been consumed by staff in Whitehall, a source told the PA news agency the office desks were socially distanced and there was "no party atmosphere going on".

During questions for the Department of Work and Pensions on Tuesday, Dr Coffey's Labour counterpart Jonathan Ashworth said: "Can I ask the Secretary of State about Christmas? Not what her latest recommendation is, should I find myself under the mistletoe, or indeed whether she hosted karaoke Christmas parties in lockdown in her office."

Dr Coffey responded: "I just want to put on the record, no karaoke parties were hosted by me in lockdown."

The allegations from the Sunday Mirror came after the government was criticised for allegedly holding Christmas parties last year while restrictions were in place.

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