THE SNP has called for Alister Jack to confirm if his department hosted any social events during lockdown after the Scotland Office failed to give answers on whether gatherings had taken place.

Recent reports about parties taking place at Downing Street while strict Covid restrictions were in place have triggered a huge outcry and calls for an independent inquiry.

As details of the scandal emerged, a parliamentary question was lodged at the House of Commons by Labour MP Sarah Owen.

It asked for confirmation of whether any social events took place between three or more people within the Secretary of State for Scotland’s departmental buildings during certain dates when strict Covid restrictions were in place.

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In response, Jack stated: “This ­information is not collected. At the time, staff were expected to work from home and undertake meetings remotely, wherever possible.”

The Sunday National asked the Scotland Office if this information could be obtained, or if it could ­advise whether any social events were held between November 5, 2020, and December 1, 2020; and between December 16, 2020, and February 22, 2021, as outlined in the question.

The Scotland Office, which has premises in Whitehall and ­Edinburgh, said it had “nothing to add” to the answer provided to the parliamentary question.

However the SNP said the Scottish Secretary had to be “crystal clear” on whether or not his department hosted a social event during lockdown.

Mhairi Black MP, the party’s shadow Scottish secretary, said: “This latest development, which shows Alister Jack refusing to deny that a social event took place ­during lockdown last year, only adds to the list of scandals that is currently ­engulfing this Tory government. 

 “If Mr Jack has nothing to hide, why not simply say no? Why has he, instead, decided to give a response which fails to deny that any social event took place while the country was in lockdown?

“The only explanation is that he is hiding something. Until he is crystal clear on the actions of his department between those dates, the suspicion will only grow.”

She added: “From the outset, the SNP has been clear that the Prime Minister’s position is untenable following numerous social events at No 10 last year.

“It is therefore paramount that Alister Jack comes clean on whether or not his department broke those same rules.”

On Friday, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case quit his role leading the inquiry into a number of alleged gatherings at Downing Street, after it emerged a quiz was held in his own department that he was aware of and spoke at.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray has now been installed in his place to carry out inquiries into three alleged gatherings at Downing Street and the Department for Education in ­November and December last year, when indoor mixing was banned.

The list of events which have emerged include a leaving speech given by Johnson on November 13 for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications. England was in a month-long lockdown at the time when meeting people from other households indoors was banned, except for work purposes.

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On November 27 it was reported another staff leaving do was held while lockdown was still in place.

A Department of Transport party on ­December 16 was said to have involved senior civil servants “boozing and dancing” at the event.

And it has also been ­reported a gathering was held in the Cabinet Office, Case’s own ­department, on December 17, described in digital calendars as “Christmas party!”.

The Cabinet Office said Case “played no part in the event”, but “walked through the team’s office on the way to his own office”.

The claim at the centre of the rule-breaking allegations is that a party was held for Downing Street staff on December 18, with speeches, drinks and Secret Santa gifts. Johnson is not thought to have attended.