Matt Hancock has denied claims he broke the 10pm drinking curfew.

Allegations arose on Sunday that the Health Secretary stayed drinking in a Commons bar beyond 10pm, in breach of the UK Government's curfew.

But the Cabinet minister's spokesman insisted the claims, published in the Mail on Sunday, were untrue.

The newspaper reported Mr Hancock arrived at the Commons bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and joked: “The drinks are on me – but Public Health England are in charge of the payment methodology so I will not be paying anything.”

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The Health Secretary’s spokesman insisted the minister had not broken curfew rules.

He said: “The proposed timeline of events is false and no rules have been broken.

“The Secretary of State was in the smoking room prior to the vote that evening. The Secretary of State left the smoking room to vote. The vote took place at 9.42pm.

“The Secretary of State then departed the parliamentary estate to go home.”

A Government source told the PA news agency that Mr Hancock had made the joke as reported.

The accusations come at a highly sensitive time for the UK Government as mayors in northern England have expressed opposition to expected moves next week to shut down parts of the hospitality sector, such as pubs.

Asked about reports Mr Hancock had been excluded from some high level meetings regarding the Covid outbreak, a Government spokesperson told the PA news agency the claims were “totally false”.

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Mr Hancock, who tested positive for coronavirus in March before recovering at home, has previously come under fire for breaking social distancing protocols in Parliament.

In June, he apologised for a “human mistake” after he was filmed breaking two-metre social distancing rules by placing his arm around a fellow MP as he arrived to the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions.