Politics

Home Office staff 'had Prosecco and crisps' in lockdown to celebrate immigration policy


The gathering was held on March 24 last year, and took place a few floors below Priti Patel’s office. Months earlier, Ms Patel said she would call the police if she saw people breaking lockdown rules.

Home Office staff enjoyed ‘Prosecco and crisps’ to celebrate a new immigration policy, it has emerged.

Around a dozen of officials working for Priti Patel’s department “mingled” as Priti Patel’s overhaul of asylum seeker rules had lead the six o’clock news.

The gathering was held on March 24 last year, and took place a few floors below Ms Patel’s office.

At the time the rest of the country were banned form mixing indoors with different households.

And department rules enforced staff to work four desks apart at the time.







It is not known if Priti Patel was at the gathering or not
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Image:

Getty Images)

A source told the Big Issue there were “four bottles of prosecco” with crisps and people were “nominally at desks”.

The source described the setting as “watercooler stuff”.

Months before this gathering, Ms Patel said she would call the police if she saw people breaking lockdown rules.

Speaking to Sky News in September 2020, she told Sky News: “I’m rarely at home but if I saw something that I thought was inappropriate then, quite frankly, I would call the police.

“It’s not dobbing in neighbours, it’s all about us taking personal responsibility.”

It is not known if she was aware or present at the gathering.

A Home Office spokesman told the Mirror the drinks were “in line with the guidance at the time”.

The spokesman added: “Some members of staff came into the office to launch a major immigration policy.







Boris Johnson was ridiculed in the Commons last week for the partygate scandal
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Image:

via REUTERS)

“A small number had a drink whilst watching the broadcast coverage of their work on 6pm news bulletins before returning to work or going home.”

It comes as the Prime Minister appears likely to throw a bunch of civil service flunkies under the bus, who could now face the axe for the partygate scandal.

On Sunday, the Mirror revealed Mr Johnson attended a leaving do for his defence adviser in the run-up to Christmas 2020 and gave a speech.

The Mirror told on Saturday how Mr Johnson attended some “wine time” Friday events at No10.

It is understood the PM was “there for a few minutes to thank him for his service” as a “small number of No10 staff briefly said goodbye”.

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