'Regrettable' events

Number 10 apologises to the Queen for parties

Boris meeting Queen
Boris Johnson has not sent a personal message to the Queen

Downing Street has apologised to the Queen for two staff parties held in No 10 the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

They took place on 16 April 2021 and went on until the early hours, with staff at one event said to have danced in the basement and one person going to a nearby supermarket with a suitcase on wheels to fill with wine, beer and spirits.

There was also a disco which is said to have become so raucous that one attendee broke baby Wilfred Johnson’s swing in the garden.

Witnesses claimed that around 30 people attended the two gatherings, which were held in different parts of the Downing Street complex before combining in the garden.

The PM’s spokesman today said it was “deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning”.

Boris Johnson, who was not at either party Boris Johnson but was on his way to Chequers, has not sent sent a personal an apology to Buckingham Palace. 

A Downing Street spokesman said the PM was not invited to either of the 16 April events. 

However, the latest revelations in The Daily Telegraph are another blow to the Prime Minister’s reputation and will only intensify calls for him to step down.

Earlier, James Slack, who is now deputy editor of The Sun newspaper, said sorry for the ‘anger and hurt caused’ by a leaving-do held for him which he said “should not have happened at the time that it did”.

He said: “I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.” He said he could not comment further as the matter had been referred to civil servant Sue Gray’s investigation.

Mr Slack’s leaving party was one of two held that night, the other being for an official photographer.

At the time of the incidents England was observing a ban on any indoor gatherings of more than two people from different households, and the limit was six people outdoors.

Any larger gatherings for work purposes had to be ‘reasonably necessary’, according to the regulations at the time. And there was a potential £10,000 fine for people who organised such events. 

While many senior and local Tories across the country were expressing their anger and embarrassment over the series of revelations, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss chose to say it was time to “move on”.

Ms Truss, who is considered a potential successor to Mr Johnson said: “He has apologised, I think we now need to move on and talk about how we are going to sort out issues.”

There were claims earlier today that Ms Gray will find no evidence of criminal behaviour, while the Metropolitan Police has said it is unlikely to launch a probe unless the Cabinet Office flags potential incidents where offences might have been committed.

Responding to the Buckingham Palace apology, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “This shows just how seriously Boris Johnson has degraded the office of Prime Minister.

“The Conservatives have let Britain down. An apology isn’t the only thing the Prime Minister should be offering the Palace today. Boris Johnson should do the decent thing and resign.”

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