Downing Street apologises to Buckingham Palace for parties held during mourning for Prince Philip

London: The office of Britain’s prime minister has apologised to the Queen for two parties held at Downing Street the night before she buried her husband Prince Philip and when the country was in mourning.

“It’s deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning,” Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, told reporters on Friday.

“We acknowledge the significant public anger.”

The parties, revealed by London’s Telegraph, continued into the early hours of the morning of the funeral and were so rowdy a swing belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilfred was broken.

A staff member was reportedly sent to the co-op supermarket on Strand with a suitcase to buy booze while another staffer DJed the tunes.

At the time, indoor mixing with people from other households was still banned, a point underlined by the arresting image of the Queen sitting alone at the funeral at Windsor Castle that day in accordance with coronavirus restrictions.

The Queen sitting alone in St George’s Chapel ahead of the funeral for Prince Philip.

The Queen sitting alone in St George’s Chapel ahead of the funeral for Prince Philip.Credit:AP

One of the parties was held for James Slack, a former lobby journalist who was working as Boris Johnson’s spokesman but departing for his new role as deputy editor at the Murdoch-owned tabloid The Sun.

Slack issued an apology through News UK.

“I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused,” Slack said in a statement.


“This event should not have happened at the time that it did. I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.”

Boris Johnson did not attend the parties and left for his country residence Chequers the night before.

But the damaging relevations about the further parties held at a time of mourning will only add to the pressure on him amid more calls from MPs for him to vacate the leadership.

MPs are furious with the prime minister who originally denied there were parties held at Downing Street during lockdowns only to confirm this week that he attended one in his official garden but thought it was a “work event.”

A fifth MP, Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen, has called on Johnson to resign, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss considered the two big rivals positioning themselves for a takeover of the top job.

Opposition Leader Keir Starmer said the prime minister had “degraded” the office.

“An apology isn’t the only thing the Prime Minister should be offering the palace today,” he said.

“Boris Johnson should resign.”

Johnson is awaiting the result of an internal inquiry by civil servant Sue Gray who is investigating the parties and whether they breached lockdown rules.

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