Parties the day before royal funeral: Downing Street apologizes to the Queen

Celebrations on the eve of royal funeral: Downing Street apologizes to of the queen

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Humiliating conclusion to a week of disastrous revelations for Boris Johnson: Downing Street apologized to Elizabeth II on Friday for parties organized in full confinement as the Queen prepared to bury her husband . 

This is one of the images symbols of the rigor of confinements in the United Kingdom: the nonagenarian queen, dressed in black to the point of a mask, sitting alone in the chapel of Windsor Castle during the funeral of Prince Philip.

Until the early morning of April 17, 2021, in full national mourning, Downing Street collaborators – without the Prime Minister – were celebrating the departure of two members of the team, according to The Telegraph, the director of communications James Slack, since deputy editor of the tabloid The Sun, and a personal photographer for Boris Johnson. 

The revelers, around 30, had gathered in the gardens of the official residence, according to the conservative newspaper which once employed Boris Johnson. One participant had been sent to buy wine brought back to Downing Street in a suitcase, he said.

“It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and the No 10 (Downing Street) has issued an apology to the palace,” a spokesman for Boris Johnson said.

At the time, indoor meetings were banned, with Britons only able to meet at maximum six outside. 

These apologies are particularly humiliating for the conservative leader, openly criticized in his majority and facing his worst crisis since taking power in July 2019. 

“Unreserved” apologies

Boris Johnson, 57, was not present and was, according to a spokesman quoted by the Telegraph, at his country residence in Checkers.

The list goes on and on. On Friday afternoon, the former head of the group responsible for drawing up the anti-covid restrictions, Kate Josephs, in turn apologized for having organized a going away party at the government offices on December 17, 2020.

These seemingly endless revelations also highlight, according to witnesses quoted in the media, a veritable drinking culture in Downing Street. 

They further sink the Conservative leader who, case of Covid contact, has not been seen in public since his mea culpa on Wednesday in Parliament for his presence at one of these parties in May 2020. He said he then thought he was It was a working meeting.

Now very weak in the polls, he is now fighting to stay on as head of government.

In his West London constituency, many voters let their anger explode. “It's absolutely disgusting that the one supposed to be chief breaks his own rules”, laments Keith Kelly, “disappointed” but “not surprised”. “It is despicable, it is a disgrace to democracy.” 

“The Queen sat alone, grieving, like so many others at the time, affected by the personal trauma and sacrifice, in order to respect the rules in the national interest”, denounced on Twitter Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of Labour, the main opposition party. 

“Moral vacuum »

Highly critical, several Tory MPs, some of whom have hitherto been staunch supporters, have joined the opposition in demanding the resignation of Boris Johnson. 

Denouncing “a moral vacuum at the heart of government Andrew Bridgen is the latest to send a letter of no-confidence to a powerful committee governing the Conservative Party's parliamentary organization.

If he receives enough, the latter will have to organize a vote that could cost Boris Johnson his place.

The head of diplomacy Liz Truss, perceived as a potential candidate for the post of prime minister, said Friday to support him “100%”. Another possible challenger, his finance colleague Rishi Sunak, was much more reserved.

But before drawing any consequences, Boris Johnson and his ministers repeat at will that it is necessary to wait, next week at best, for the conclusions of an internal investigation. Criticized for their wait-and-see attitude, London police took the same line.

The Times said on Friday that this investigation would not have found enough evidence of criminal offenses.

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