Former Covid task force head apologises for leaving drinks during lockdown

Kate Josephs held office drinks when London was under Tier 3 restrictions
Kate Josephs. Photo: Gov.uk

By Tevye Markson

14 Jan 2022

The former head of the Cabinet Office’s Covid Taskforce has admitted to holding leaving drinks with colleagues in December 2020 amid a coronavirus lockdown.

Kate Josephs served as director general of the taskforce from July 2020 until her departure on 18 December 2020.

On the day of her leaving drinks at the Cabinet Office, on December 17, London was under Tier 3 rules which prevented most indoor mixing between those from different households.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Josephs wrote: "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.”

This is now the 12th party that is believed to have taken place in government buildings amid coronavirus restrictions.

Josephs, who is now the chief executive of Sheffield City Council,  said she is cooperating fully with the investigation into gatherings in government buildings.

She said she did not attend any events at No.10 Downing Street and would not comment further until senior civil servant Sue Gray has finished her investigation.

Josephs was earlier this month awarded a Companion of the Order of Bath in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2021.

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