THE House of Commons has now become embroiled in its own party scandal after claims that illicit social events were attended in the building by ministers, MPs and their staff during lockdown.

The Times reports that at least two drinks parties are being investigated by parliamentary authorities, including one event on the Commons terrace next to the Thames river, which involved one minister and their special advisers.

However, sources told the newspaper that security officials might have logged details of other secret gatherings during the height of lockdown restrictions which prevented people from socialising even in small groups.

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It is believed some of the parties may have been at the same time as those held in Downing Street, such as the event on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral.

The SNP's Ian Blackford has called for a full investigation into the "shameful" claims. 

A source told the Times: “The parliamentary authorities repeatedly sent guidance to officials, MPs and their staff, warning them not to break the Covid rules.

"It followed mounting concern that groups of people were buying alcohol from the local Tesco Metro and consuming it on the parliamentary estate.”

It comes after the Metropolitan police issued 20 fixed penalty notices (FPN) to Downing Street staff for breaches of Covid-19 rules on Friday.

The National: 20 fines were issued to staff working in Number 10 for Covid-19 breaches20 fines were issued to staff working in Number 10 for Covid-19 breaches

The Times reports that Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle is now starting a crackdown on the drinking culture within the parliamentary estate.

According to sources, the Times reports several senior politicians and their staff have recently had to be escorted from the estate after excessive alcohol consumption.

Meanwhile, one lobby journalist was stripped of their parliamentary pass last week following reports about their behaviour.

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Reportedly guidance has also been sent to MPs and their staff warning them not to drunkenly fall asleep in their offices overnight after missing their train home.

A senior Westminster source said: “Some of the MPs from the 2019 intake are very wet behind the ears and are barely out of university. It seems they have rather adopted a freshers’ week mentality to socialising.”

Westminster SNP leader Blackford said: "It's hard to recall a week passing without news of another Tory party where the Covid restrictions have been blatantly flouted - it's beyond shameful and if the Tories think people across the country will just forget about them then they are more out of touch than they appear.

"These Tory Government 'secret gatherings' are all too believable, especially when it has been confirmed by the Metropolitan Police this week that the law was broken by Downing Street during lockdown - these new revelations must be investigated fully and reported properly.

The National: Blackford said the latest reports of parties in the Commons are "shameful"Blackford said the latest reports of parties in the Commons are "shameful"

"Fundamentally though, with the spineless Scottish Tories now focussed on protecting the Prime Minister rather than standing up for everyone who made unimaginable sacrifices over the past two years, it's clear the only way the people of Scotland can escape this corrupt  UK government – and an utterly broken Westminster system – is by choosing a better path as an independent country.” 

A House of Commons spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic, the House of Commons has consistently communicated and reiterated the rules and guidance that have been in place to ensure that parliament has been able to function in line with all relevant Covid regulations.”

The 20 FPN’s were mostly given to junior Downing Street staff, including several who attended a gathering to mark the departure of Hannah Young, a private secretary in No 10 dealing with home affairs.

Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings has criticised the fact that FPN’s have been given mostly to juniors in the department, and accused Martin Reynolds, the PMs outgoing principal private secretary, of being ultimately responsible.