The office of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized to Queen Elizabeth after it emerged that staff had been partying late into the night at 10 Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philips’ funeral, at a time when mixing indoors was banned.
The British newspaper Daily Telegraph says that the Prime Minister’s staff went to a nearby supermarket to buy a suitcase of alcohol, spilled wine on carpets and broke a swing which was used by the Prime Minister’s young son
A spokesman for the Prime Minister says he was in his country house in Checkers that day and was not invited to any gathering
The prime minister is under increasing pressure to step down as opponents say he is unfit to govern and has misled parliament
Johnson is facing the most serious crisis in his prime after almost daily revelations about a series of social gatherings during COVID-19 lockdowns, some held when ordinary people could not say goodbye personally to dying relatives.
Having built a political career out of mocking accepted norms, Mr Johnson is now under growing pressure from some members of his own party to resign.
Opponents say he is unfit to govern and has misled parliament by denying the COVID-19 guidelines were violated.
In an extraordinary twist to a saga that has been much talked about by comedians and cartoonists, the British newspaper Daily Telegraph said that drinking parties were held at 10 Downing Street on April 16, 2021, the day before Prince Philips’ funeral.
Johnson was at his farm in Checkers that day and was not invited to any gathering, his spokesman said.
Such was the party in Downing Street, the Telegraph said staff went to a nearby supermarket to buy a suitcase of alcohol, spilled wine on blankets, and a swing used by the prime minister’s young son was destroyed.
The next day, Queen Elizabeth said goodbye to Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, after his death at the age of 99.
Dressed in black and in a white trimmed black face mask, the 95-year-old queen cut a gripping figure while sitting alone, in strict accordance with the rules of coronavirus, during the funeral of Prince Philip at Windsor Castle.
Calls for the departure of the Prime Minister
Opponents have called on Mr Johnson, 57, to step down, casting him as a charlatan demanding that the British people follow some of the most burdensome rules in peacetime history while his own staff partyed in the heart of the British state.
A small but growing number in his own Conservative party have reiterated these calls, fearing it will do lasting damage to its options.
“Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable,” said Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, a former Johnson supporter.
Johnson has provided a variety of explanations to the parties, ranging from denials that any rules were broken, to expressing understanding of the public anger over apparent hypocrisy in the heart of the British state.
Secretary of State Liz Truss, who was seen as a possible successor, said “real mistakes” were made.
“We have to look at the overall position we are in as a country, the fact that he (Mr Johnson) has delivered on Brexit, that we are recovering from COVID … He has apologized.”
To trigger a leadership challenge, 54 of the 360 Conservative MPs must write letters of no confidence to the chairman of the party’s “1922 committee”.
One of the parties in April 2021 was a departure event for James Slack, a former communications director at Downing Street, who on Friday apologized “for the anger and hurt”.
Mr. Slack, now deputy editor of the tabloid newspaper Sun, said in a statement that the gathering “should not have taken place at the time it happened”.
British police said on Thursday they would not investigate gatherings held at Mr Johnson’s residence during a coronavirus blockade unless an internal government inquiry finds evidence of potential criminal acts.
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