Head of Covid taskforce ‘sorry’ for ‘boozy’ Cabinet Office leaving drinks – new revelation

Dozens of officials were said to have attended the leaving drinks for Kate Josephs.

The former director general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce has this afternoon apologised for a gathering held in the run up to Christmas 2020.

The party is now understood to be being looked at as part of a wider investigation into rule breaking gatherings held by the Government during the pandemic.

Ms Josephs, who is now chief executive of Sheffield City Council, has said she “truly sorry” for the “anger” the drinks will have caused.

She said: “As people know I previously worked in the Cabinet Office Covid Taskforce where I was Director General from July 2020 to December 18, 2020.

“I have been cooperating fully with the Cabinet Office investigations and I do not want to pre-empt the findings of the investigation.

“However as Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council I am responsible for leading the organisation and working with partners across the city and region to support our Covid response and recovery.

“That is why I have decided to make a statement.

“On the evening of 17 December, I gathered with colleagues that were at work that day, with drinks, in our office in the Cabinet Office, to mark my leaving the Civil Service.

“I am truly sorry that I did this and for the anger that people will feel as a result. Sheffield has suffered greatly during this pandemic, and I apologise unreservedly.

“The specific facts of this event will be considered in the context of the Cabinet Office investigation. I did not attend any events at 10 Downing Street.

“I am grateful for the ongoing support of colleagues and partners and need now to ask that people allow the Cabinet Office to complete its investigation.

“I will not be able to respond to any further questions until the Cabinet Office investigation is complete.”

It is just the latest revelation of a series of parties alleged to have taken place at the heart of Government against coronavirus regulations.

More to follow…