Dominic Raab has said he does not recognise the “caricature” about Number 10 as he denied there was a drinking culture in Downing Street.
The deputy prime minister told Sky News while he was running the country, as Boris Johnson was in hospital with COVID, the staff at Number 10 worked “phenomenally hard under gruelling conditions”.
He told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “I do not personally recognise the caricature that they were all partying, this was incredibly serious and difficult and a dedicated team.
“I’m just telling you what I saw, my experience.”
Mr Raab was speaking after Mr Johnson’s former top adviser, Dominic Cummings, accused the PM of lying to parliament by saying he thought a May 2020 garden party was a work event.
The justice secretary said he did not want to get “drawn in to the soap opera” of claims and repeated the line ministers have taken over the past two weeks that they will wait for Sue Gray’s investigation to finish.
He added that it was “nonsense” the May 2020 party was in honour of him for taking over as PM while Mr Johnsnon was in hospital.
“It was nonsense, I wasn’t invited and I didn’t attend,” he said.