The Conservative Party has admitted party staff held a party during coronavirus restrictions last December.

The party acknowledged that a gathering took place at its headquarters while the rest of the country was under coronavirus regulations.

Following a report in the Times, a Tory spokesman said: “Senior CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters) staff became aware of an unauthorised social gathering in the basement of Matthew Parker Street organised by the Bailey campaign on the evening of December 14.

“Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Bailey campaign.”

Downing Street Covid Christmas party

The admission comes as pressure continues to build on Boris Johnson’s government over an alleged party that took place at Downing Street on December 18.

Footage obtained by ITV News, shows Boris Johnson’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton and adviser Ed Oldfield, along with other aides, were filmed joking about a “fictional” Downing Street party in December 2020.

Ms Stratton is seen answering questions at a mock press conference on December 22 about a party the previous Friday – the date of the alleged Covid rule-breaking gathering which is said to have been attended by dozens of colleagues while social mixing indoors was banned in London under Tier 3 restrictions.

Mr Oldfield can be heard asking Ms Stratton: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”

Ms Stratton replied “I went home” before appearing to consider what the correct answer should be.

During the rehearsal, filmed as part of a subsequently-abandoned plan for Ms Stratton to lead televised press briefings, one aide is heard saying: “It wasn’t a party, it was cheese and wine.”

“Is cheese and wine all right? It was a business meeting,” Ms Stratton replied, to laughter in the room.

Ms Stratton then noted “this is recorded”, adding: “This fictional party was a business meeting … and it was not socially distanced.”

Ms Stratton resigned on Wednesday afternoon as an investigation into the gathering was launched.

More lockdown breaking gatherings

Allegations of further Christmas parties in Downing Street emerged at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, including one in Boris Johnson’s flat.

In a point of order following PMQs, Ian Blackford, of the SNP, said there were "authoritative reports of not just one, not just two, but three Downing Street parties during lockdown last Christmas, including one in the prime minister's flat.

"What do we have to do to make sure the prime minister takes responsibility for his breach of trust, and he resigns now."

The BBC reported that those allegations include a gathering held by Carrie Johnson at the prime minister’s flat on November 13, which a spokesman for Mrs Johnson denies.

It is also alleged that there were informal leaving drinks for staff at Number 10 on November 27.