Boris Johnson’s staff in Downing Street threw two parties the day before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral, the Telegraph has reported, the latest in a list of at least a dozen lockdown swipes to which the British Prime Minister and his staff are accused of having attended.
On April 17, 2021, the Queen attended her husband’s funeral alone while mourners were asked not to leave flowers to avoid COVID-19 infections. However, the night before, the mood in Downing Street was much less gloomy.
Witnesses told the Telegraph there were initially two separate farewell parties: one in the Downing Street basement, which included dancing to music played by a special adviser, and one in the garden, where outgoing director of communications James Slack — now editor at the Sun newspaper — gave a farewell speech.
Slack apologized Friday morning for the “anger and hurt” the party caused. He said he took “full responsibility” and was “deeply sorry”.
In a statement emailed by The Sun’s publisher, News UK, he added: ‘This event should not have happened when it happened.
A member of staff allegedly carried a suitcase full of alcohol that night. Later, the two groups reunited in the garden, where the party of around 30 people continued well past midnight. A participant broke the swing of Boris Johnson’s one-year-old son Wilf, the Telegraph reported.
A spokesperson for Johnson said he was not at the party and had left for his Checkers country residence the night before.
“The Queen sat alone in mourning as so many did at the time with personal trauma and sacrifice to play by the rules in the national interest. I have no words for the culture and behaviors at Number 10 and the responsibility lies with the Prime Minister,” said Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party. Twitter.
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey renewed his calls for Johnson’s resignation. “The Queen sitting alone, mourning the loss of her husband, was the defining image of the lockdown. Not because she’s the queen, but because she was just another person, crying alone like too many others. While she was crying, number 10 was celebrating. Johnson must go,” he wrote. on Twitter.
Allegations of parties breaking the lockdown are being investigated internally by civil servant Sue Gray.
This article has been updated.