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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

UK PM Johnson’s staff partied as queen mourned death of husband

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's staff partied in Downing Street last year as Queen Elizabeth mourned her husband, a time when ordinary people were unable to bid farewell to dying relatives due to COVID protocols.

By: Reuters | London |
Updated: January 14, 2022 6:01:13 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson,Protestors hold placards in Parliament Square as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the weekly Prime Ministers' Questions session in parliament in London, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who won a landslide election victory in 2019 is now facing the gravest crisis of his premiership.

On Wednesday, he apologised for a “bring your own booze” gathering at his official residence during Britain’s first coronavirus lockdown, a time when people were unable to bid farewell to their dying relatives.

The Telegraph said that Johnson’s staff went to a nearby supermarket to buy a suitcase of alcohol and used a laptop to play music and a swing used by the prime minister’s young son was broken.

The Telegraph also reported that there were two other drinks parties held inside Downing Street on April 16, 2021, when social gatherings indoors and outdoors were limited. Johnson was at his Chequers country residence that day, the paper said.

The next day, Queen Elizabeth bide farewell to Philip, 99. Dressed in black and a white trimmed black face mask, the
95-year-old Elizabeth stood alone, head bowed as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel.

Opponents have called for Johnson to resign, 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 staff partied. A small but growing number in his own Conservative Party have echoed those calls, fearing it will do lasting damage to its electoral prospects.

Johnson has given a variety of explanations of the parties, ranging from denials that any rules were broken, to understanding the anger at apparent hypocrisy at the heart of the British state. APOLOGIES

One of the April 2021 parties in Downing Street was a goodbye event for James Slack, a former director of communications, who on Friday said he wanted to “apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused.” Slack said in a statement to PA Media that the gathering “should not have happened at the time that it did.”

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

When asked about the reports of parties 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 will have to see what comes out further in the investigation. This was a particularly somber time for our whole country.”

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