A celebration in Downing Street on Boris Johnson’s birthday involved people who were already working together, the transport secretary has told Sky News.
Speaking to Kay Burley, Grant Shapps tried to explain the gathering on 19 June 2020, the PM’s 56th birthday.
He said: “It obviously was the prime minister’s birthday, he’d been given a cake earlier in the day, that’s the picture in the newspapers.
“And he was clearly given a cake by staff when he got back to the office.
“These are staff he would have been working with and was working with all day long, and will have been many a time in the same room with them working on the response to coronavirus.
“They come in, give him a cake, I understand I think it lasted for 10 minutes and that was it.”
The transport secretary added: “The prime minister clearly didn’t organise to be given a cake. Some people came forward and thought it would be appropriate for on his birthday.”
Downing Street has admitted staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room on the day in question.
ITV News reported 30 people attended and shared cake, despite mixing between households indoors being banned at the time.
Its report added that Carrie Johnson, the PM’s wife, had organised the surprise get-together, which also included a rendition of Happy Birthday for Mr Johnson.
Interior designer Lulu Lytle has admitted she was at the event, but said she was only there “briefly” while waiting to talk to the PM about the refurbishment of the couple’s Downing Street flat.