Boris Johnson has admitted that Number 10 did hold a Christmas party last year, just after placing the entire country in lockdown, but has insisted that the only reason for doing so was so that everyone present could test their eyesight.
The addition follows a leaked video in which downing street staffers are seen joking about the party itself.
“It was very, very difficult to get to the opticians last December,” said the prime minister.
“And everyone at Number 10 was becoming increasingly concerned about whether their eyesight had deteriorated at all.
“So, we thought the simplest thing to do would be to hold a Christmas party, with Secret Santa, drinks, canapes, casual sexual harassment and so on.
“If everyone could negotiate that event, without bumping into walls or dropping their vol-au-vents, then their eyesight was probably fine. We even made sure some of the canapes were those really small ones that are entirely unsatisfying when you eat them.
“I don’t think that anyone sensible would think that such an even constitutes any wrongdoing, but I’d like to say that if you do think there was any wrongdoing, then I’m sorry that you think that.”
Mr Johnson gave his statement in a climate of concern over the new omicron variant and the highest daily number of cases since January.
As he spoke, reporters heard sounds of laughter, crackers being pulled, and Wham’s Last Christmas echoing out of Number 10 behind him.
“Annual eye test,” he said.