Home Social gathering British Prime Minister Johnson’s staff celebrated as the Queen mourned the death of her husband

British Prime Minister Johnson’s staff celebrated as the Queen mourned the death of her husband

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  • Johnson’s staff partied the night before Philip’s funeral
  • Johnson facing the most serious crisis of the prime minister
  • Staff brought alcohol in a suitcase, broke a swing
  • Former spokesperson apologizes for the party

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s staff partied in Downing Street last year as Queen Elizabeth mourned her husband, a time when indoor mixing was banned for people of different households.

Johnson is facing the most serious crisis in his premiership after revelations about a series of rallies in Downing Street during the COVID shutdowns, some at times when ordinary people have not been able to say goodbye in person to dying parents.

Johnson, who won a landslide election victory in 2019, apologized on Wednesday for a “bring your own booze” rally at his official residence during Britain’s first coronavirus lockdown. He admitted to participating.

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The Telegraph said there were two more evenings around Downing Street on April 16, 2021, when indoor and outdoor social gatherings were restricted. Johnson was at his Checkers country residence that day, the newspaper said.

The following day, Queen Elizabeth said goodbye to Philip, 99.

Dressed in black and a white-trimmed black face mask, 95-year-old Elizabeth stood alone with her head bowed as her 73-year-old husband descended into the royal vault of St George’s Chapel.

Such was the party in Downing Street, the Telegraph said, that staff went to the nearby supermarket to buy a suitcase of booze, used a laptop to play music and a swing used by the young son of the Prime Minister was broken.

Opponents have called on Johnson to step down, casting the 57-year-old prime minister as a charlatan who demanded the British people follow some of the most onerous rules in peacetime history while his own staff partied.

A small but growing number in his own Conservative party have echoed those calls, fearing it could permanently damage his electoral prospects.

Johnson gave a variety of explanations for the parties, ranging from denial that rules were broken to understanding anger at the apparent hypocrisy at the heart of the British state.

Apologies

One of the April 2021 Downing Street parties was a parting event for James Slack, a former communications director, who said on Friday he wanted to “unreservedly apologize for the anger and hurt caused”.

Slack said in a statement to PA Media that the rally “shouldn’t have happened when it happened.”

British police said on Thursday they would not investigate gatherings held at Johnson’s residence during a coronavirus lockdown unless an internal government investigation finds evidence of potential criminal offences.

Asked about the holiday reports the day before Philip’s funeral, Security Minister Damian Hinds said he was shocked.

“I was shocked to read it,” Hinds told Sky News. “We’ll have to see what comes out later in the investigation.”

“It was a particularly dark time for our whole country.”

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Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; edited by Michael Holden

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