Halifax-born woman who headed Government's Covid taskforce team held lockdown-breaking leaving do

The former head of the government unit that drew up Covid restrictions has apologised after she was given a "boozy" leaving bash during lockdown.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 8:38 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 8:40 pm
Halifax-born Kate Josephs

Dozens of officials from the Cabinet Office's Covid-19 taskforce are said to have attended the event to mark the departure of director-general Kate Josephs.

The bash was held on December 17, 2020, as the UK faced tight Covid restrictions and gatherings were banned in London and other areas under the tier system.

Halifax-born Ms Josephs, who is now CEO of Sheffield City Council, today (Fri) took to Twitter to admit she met with colleagues for drinks.

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She said: "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 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."

Ms Josephs said she has been 'cooperating fully' with the Cabinet Office probe.

At the time of the event London had just entered tier three restrictions, with parties banned and people not allowed to mix indoors with anyone outside their household.

On the day of the party, the Government tweeted its official guidance, which stated: "Although there are exemptions for work purposes, you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier".

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