The now-deleted tweet was posted at 5.53, and said: “Arrogant and offensive.
“Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”
The tweet was up for around 12 minutes before it was deleted, but not before it was retweeted more than 32,000 times.
The Government confirmed an investigation has been launched.
A spokesman said: “An unauthorised tweet was posted on a Government channel this evening.
“The post has been removed and we are investigating the matter.”
The tweet did not name any individuals, but it appears to reference Mr Johnson’s defence of his chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, at today’s briefing from Downing Street.
The Government has launched a probe following a now-deleted tweet from the Civil Service account
Boris Johnson defended the actions of chief adviser Dominic Cummings
Mr Johnson immediately began this afternoon’s press conference by strongly defending Mr Cummings following claims he had travelled 260 miles to County Durham during the peak of the lockdown.
Mr Cummings travelled to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family when official guidelines warned against long-distance journeys, apparently because he feared that he and his wife would be left unable to care for their son.
Further reports on Saturday evening suggested he made another trip to the North East in April, having just returned to London following his recovery from coronavirus.
Mr Cummings has denied these fresh allegations, which were reported by the Observer and the Sunday Mirror.
Dominic Cummings is under pressure to resign from his post
Shortly after arriving at the Downing Street briefing, the Prime Minister insisted his chief adviser acted with “responsibly and legally and with integrity”.
He said: “I have had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus – and when he had no alternative – I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent.
“And I do not mark him down for that.
“Though there have been many other allegations about what happened when he was in self-isolation and thereafter, some of them palpably false, I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly and legally and with integrity and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.”
Sir Keir Starmer launched a furious attack against Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson added later in the briefing: “The guidance makes it very clear that where you have particular childcare needs that has got to be taken into account.
“I have seen a lot of stuff in the last few days about this episode of self-isolation by Mr Cummings that does not seem to correspond remotely with reality.
“As far as I can see he stuck to the rules and he acted legally and responsibly with the sole objective of avoiding such contact as would spread the virus.
“His object was to stop the spread of the virus and he behaved in such a way as to do that.”
The Government is gradually easing lockdown measures throughout the UK
But following the briefing from Downing Street, opposition political leaders were left fuming by the Prime Minister’s defence of his chief adviser.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “This was a test of the Prime Minister and he has failed it.
“It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings.
“The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the Prime Minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.
“The Prime Minister’s actions have undermined confidence in his own public health message at this crucial time.
“Millions were watching for answers and they got nothing. That’s why the Cabinet Secretary must now launch an urgent inquiry.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the Government’s response was a “failure of leadership”.
He tweeted: “Boris Johnson told us to stay at home and to isolate if we had Covid-19. There was no caveat that this does not apply to Dominic Cummings.
“By supporting Cummings at his press conference Boris Johnson displays a failure of leadership and undermines his own public health messages.”
This is a breaking story. More to follow…
Published at Sun, 24 May 2020 19:12:00 +0000