UK Prime Minister’s Office apologizes to Queen for staff parties the day before her husband’s funeral | Radio-Canada News

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Boris Johnson’s office on Friday apologized to the Royal Family for hosting staff parties in Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral last year – the latest in a series of gatherings allegedly breaking the lockdown who threaten to overthrow the British Prime Minister.

Farewell parties for Johnson’s outgoing spin doctor and another staff member, complete with late-night drinking and dancing, were held on April 16, 2021, the night before Queen Elizabeth left. sits alone at her husband’s funeral due to social distancing rules in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, acknowledged news of the rallies caused “significant public anger”.

‘It is deeply regrettable that this has taken place at a time of national mourning and that Number 10 has made his apologies to the Palace,’ he said, using a term referring to the Prime Minister’s 10 Downing Street office. .

Johnson’s former communications director, James Slack, has apologized for the “anger and hurt” caused by his farewell party.

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“I am deeply sorry and take full responsibility,” added Slack, who left the government last year and is now deputy editor of tabloid The Sun.

Office says PM was not present

Johnson’s office said the Prime Minister was not in Downing Street, where he lives and works, on April 16 and was unaware of any gatherings planned that day.

But each new revelation about social happenings inside the prime minister’s office during the pandemic has weakened his grip on power.

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On Friday, police walk past Parliament in London. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Bharat Express News)

Earlier this week, Johnson apologized for attending a Downing Street garden party in May 2020 when the UK was under a strict lockdown and the law prohibited people from meeting more someone outside their household. Millions of people have been cut off from family and friends, and even prevented from visiting dying relatives in hospitals.

Most indoor social gatherings were also banned in April 2021 and funerals were limited to 30 people. But it is the timing symbolism of the latest events that has appalled many in Britain.

The Daily Telegraph, which broke the news, said Downing Street staff had been drinking, dancing and socializing late into the night, and at one point a worker was sent with a suitcase to a nearby supermarket to buy more alcohol.

The following day, the widowed Queen sat alone in a church at Windsor Castle to say goodbye to her 73-year-old husband.

Photos of the monarch, dressed in black and wearing a face mask, have become a powerful image of the isolation and sacrifices endured by many during the pandemic.

Many conservatives fear the ‘partygate’ scandal could become a tipping point for a leader who has weathered a series of other storms over his spending and moral judgment.

The latest revelations will likely prompt more Tories to join their opponents in demanding that Johnson resign for flouting the rules the government has imposed on the rest of the country.

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