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Downing Street staff reportedly partied the night before Prince Philip’s funeral – POLITICO

Boris Johnson’s staff in Downing Street hosted two parties the night before Prince Philip’s funeral, socially distanced, the Telegraph reported, the latest in a list of at least a dozen anti-lockdown parties the Prime British minister and his staff are accused of attending.

On April 17, 2021, the Queen attended her husband’s funeral alone as mourners were urged not to leave flowers to avoid COVID-19 infections. Yet the day before, the atmosphere in Downing Street was much less gloomy.

Witnesses told the Telegraph that there were initially two separate farewell parties: one in the Downing Street basement, which included dancing to music performed by a special adviser, and one in the garden, where outgoing communications director James Slack – now editor-in-chief at the Sun newspaper – delivered a farewell speech.

Slack apologized on Friday morning for the “anger and hurt” the party had caused. He said he took “full responsibility” and was “deeply sorry”.

In an emailed statement from The Sun’s editor, News UK, he added: “This event should not have happened when it did.”

A staff member allegedly rolled into a suitcase full of alcohol that night. Later, the two groups gathered in the garden, where the party of about 30 people continued well beyond 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 present at the parties and had left for his Checkers country residence the night before.

“The Queen sat alone in mourning as so many others did at the time with personal trauma and sacrifice to play by the rules in the national interest. I have no words for culture and behavior at number 10 and the responsibility ends with the Prime Minister, ”Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said on Twitter.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has reiterated his calls for Johnson to step down. “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 partying. Johnson has to go, ”he wrote on Twitter.

Allegations of lockdown violations are being investigated internally by Sue Gray, an official.

This article has been updated.

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