Downing Street makes an apology to Queen about lockdown parties

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Image source, EPA

Downing Street apologized to Buckingham Palace regarding two parties held in No10 the night before Prince Philip died.

The Telegraph reported that the first gatherings took place 16 April 2021.

According to the spokesperson of PM, it is “deeply regrettetable” that this happened at a time when there was national mourning.

Boris Johnson did not attend either party, but was questioned about the alleged Covid rule breaking at No 10

Opposition parties reacted strongly to the latest revelations from the party. They compared the behavior of No10 staff to photos of Queen Elizabeth sitting by herself at the funeral of Duke of Edinburgh, in line with Covid restrictions.

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Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the SNP all call for the resignation of Mr Johnson after he admits to having a drink party at Downing Street’s garden on lockdown 20 May 2020.

Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative MP, has now publicly stated that they had written to the chairman the 1922 Committee (which organises Tory leadership elections) to express their dismay at the prime minister.

To trigger a vote, fifty-four Conservative MPs must write a letter.

On 16 April 2013, the two employees gathered at an event that was held in conjunction with Covid’s ban on indoor socialising.

‘Misjudgements’

Sue Gray, a senior civil servant has added them to her list of possible gatherings at government buildings.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, said that the apology was a clear indication of how serious Boris Johnson had taken the prime minister’s office.

“The Conservatives let Britain down. Apologies are not the only thing that the Palace needs today from the prime minister.

Boris Johnson ought to do the right thing and resign.

The Palace received a call from officials of the Government apologizing for their mistakes.

When asked why No. 10 apologized rather than Boris Johnson, his spokesperson said that the prime minister had stated earlier mistakes and that it was right for people to apologise as well, just like the PM earlier in the week.

While he said he cannot prejudge the inquiry of Ms Gray, the spokesman added that despite acknowledging public anger it was unfortunate this happened at a time national mourning.

Wine Suitcase

Sir Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Leader of Liberal Democrats called for Mr Johnson’s personal apology to Queen Elizabeth “for the offense he’s caused her (and millions across the country) to mourn for their loved ones”.

Last April, the two parties involved about 30 people. They are believed to have met at one point in Downing Street, where they continued until midnight.

Reports say that staff were given a suitcase to take with them, which was then returned with wine bottles.

Both were leaving parties, one for James Slack (PM’s former director of communications), and one for one of PM’s personal photographer.

Now, Mr. Slack is the deputy editor at The Sun newspaper. He has apologized for the “anger and hurt” that was caused by the party and said it should not have occurred “at the time it did”.

England was then under “step 2” regulations that prohibited people from socializing indoors except with their family or support circle.

Socializing outdoors could take place in small groups up to six or with two people.

Timeline: These alleged gatherings of the government

The government faces increasing pressure due to several events that were allegedly held under lockdowns. These events and restrictions are what we currently know:

Boris Johnson announced a plan to take the “first careful steps” out of the lockdown that began in March 2020. But he said people should continue to “obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them”.

The law at that time stated you couldn’t leave your home without giving a reason. Government guidance suggested you can meet up with one other person while you exercise outdoors.

Photo taken in May 2020 shows the prime minister with his staff enjoying bottles of wine, and cheeseboards at Downing Street’s garden. When asked about it, Boris Johnson said, “those people were at work talking about work”.

About 100 people were invited by email to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” on behalf of the prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds.

Witnesses confirmed to the BBC that the PM and his spouse were among the 30 who attended.

Boris Johnson has confirmed he attended the event, saying he was there for 25 minutes and “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.

Boris Johnson announced plans for a “significant return to normality” in England by Christmas “through targeted, local action” instead of national lockdowns.

But he added that the timetable relied on “every one of us staying alert and acting responsibly”.

With cases of coronavirus rising again, the prime minister told people in England that “we are once again asking you to stay at home” as a new national lockdown began.

He said people should only leave their homes “for work if you can’t work from home, for education, and for essential activities and emergencies”. Indoor gatherings with other households were banned, unless they were for work purposes.

According to sources, Downing Street staff attended an event with Carrie Johnson at the apartment where they live. The party was denied by a Johnson spokesperson.

A leaving event was held for No 10 aide, Cleo Watson, where people were drinking, and Mr Johnson made a speech, according to sources.

The second national lockdown ended after four weeks but Boris Johnson replaced those restrictions with “tough tiers to keep this virus down”.

London was placed in tier two, which banned two or more people from different households from meeting indoors, unless “reasonably necessary” for work purposes.

According to the Department for Education, there was an office meeting held in order to express gratitude for staff’s efforts during the pandemic. The Department for Education says that all those present brought drinks and snacks, and there were no guests.

The Conservative Party has admitted that an “unauthorised gathering” took place at its HQ in Westminster. It was held by the team of the party’s London-mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, who has since stepped down as chair of the London Assembly police and crime committee. Two people were present at the party, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters was described as ‘raucous’
Caption: The gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters was described as ‘raucous’

Copyright to the Image by Daily Mirror

According to multiple sources, the BBC was told by several people that there had been a Christmas quiz held for staff at No 10. Sunday Mirror publishes a picture of Boris Johnson sitting with two other colleagues at No 10. Johnson denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Johnson was pictured in the No 10 library under a portrait of Margaret Thatcher
Caption for this imagePicture of Mr Johnson in No.10 library, under Margaret Thatcher’s portrait

Copyright to the Image by Sunday Mirror

London moved into the highest tier of restrictions and Matt Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, said it was important “everyone is cautious” ahead of the festive period.

The Department for Transport apologised after confirming reports of a party in its offices that day, calling it “inappropriate” and an “error of judgment” by staff.

Downing Street initially denied that there was a party in Downing Street.

However, a video obtained by ITV News showed the prime minister’s then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, joking about reports of an event, saying: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”

Lockdown restrictions were eased in England, with pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen with outdoor service only.

However, working from home continued to be recommended and socialising indoors with people from other households was not allowed. The number of people who could meet outside was restricted to six persons or two households.

Two parties were held by Downing Street staff at No 10, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

One of the events was a leaving party for the PM’s then director of communications James Slack, who has apologised for the event and acknowledged it “should not have happened at the time that it did”.

Boris Johnson wasn’t at any party.

Source: BBC.com

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