Boris Johnson’s Downing Street staff hosted two parties the night before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral, the Telegraph reported, the latest in a list of at least a dozen lockdown breaches the British prime minister and his crew have been accused of attending.
On April 17, 2021, the Queen attended her husband’s funeral alone while mourners were asked not to leave flowers to avoid contracting COVID-19 infection. But the night before, the atmosphere in Downing Street was a little less bleak.
Witnesses told The Telegraph that there had initially been two separate farewell parties: one in Downing Street’s basement, which included dancing to music played by a private advisor, and another in the garden, where departing communications director James Slack – now a senior editor at The Sun – was He gave a farewell speech.
Slack apologized Friday morning for the “anger and hurt” the party had caused. He said he took “full responsibility” and was “deeply sorry.”
“This event should not have happened at the time it did,” he added in an emailed statement from Sun’s publisher, News UK.
A staff member was reportedly driving a bag full of wine that night. Later, the two groups joined the park, where the party of about 30 people continued after midnight. The Telegraph reported that an attendee broke the swing of Boris Johnson’s one-year-old son Welf.
A spokesman for Johnson said he was not present at the parties and had left for his hometown of Checkers the night before.
“The Queen sat alone in mourning as so many did at the time with personal shock and sacrifices to keep the rules in the national interest. Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said: Twitter.
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey renewed calls for Johnson to resign. “The Queen sitting alone, mourning the loss of her husband, was the defining photo of the shutdown. Not because she is the Queen, but because she was just another person, grieving alone like so many others. While grieving, grief number 10. It was written on Johnson” on Twitter.
Allegations of the parties violating the internal shutdown are being investigated by Sue Gray, a civil servant.
This article has been updated.