Staff at Downing Street were advised to delete information regarding lockdown parties from their phones, it has been reported.
Staff have alleged that a senior member of staff at No 10 recommended that they delete any messages suggesting they attended or were aware of any lockdown gatherings, The Independent reported.
Two sources have alleged that they were told to clean up their phones last month when reports first surfaced of lockdown parties at Downing Street.
Senior civil servant Sue Grey is heading an internal investigation into social gatherings at No 10 during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
Some 100 staff members appear to have been invited to a drinks event on 20 May 2020, when lockdown laws only permitted gatherings of two people from different households outside. An email encouraged staff to “bring your own booze”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced fury from the families of Covid victims, following reports of the leaked email invitation.
The May gathering was the latest in a number of events revealed to have taken place at times when the country was subject to tough Covid rules on socialising with different households.
Downing Street staff were advised to clean up their phones by removing information that could suggest lockdown parties were held at No 10, The Independent has been told.
One source told The Independent that they were “told to clean up their phone just in case” it was required in the investigation.
“I was being leant on [during the discussion with a senior colleague] and told to get rid of anything that could look bad,” the second source said.
An email sent in December to staff instructed them not to get rid of any material that could prove pertinent to an investigation, criminal or otherwise.
A No 10 spokesperson told The Independent they did not recognise the claims.
“Staff were given clear guidance to retain any relevant information. As set out in the terms of reference, all staff are expected to fully co-operate with the investigation,” the spokesperson said.