A new report details the wild garden party British government employees held at Downing Street the night before Queen Elizabeth buried her husband during strict COVID-19 lockdown protocols.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced a quickly spiraling disaster for his administration after news emerged last year that government ministers and employees held holiday parties during a very strict lockdown period around Christmas in 2020.
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Rules at the time mandated that individuals could not socialize indoors except “with your household or support bubble.”
The government last week confirmed the existence of another party on April 16, 2021, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was “deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning. No 10 has apologized to the Palace.”
But a new report in The Telegraph details the less-than-somber tone around the prime minister’s headquarters on the night.
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Queen Elizabeth sat alone in church while she mourned the loss of her husband, but around 30 Downing Street employees gathered to say goodbye to a photographer and a director of communications.
Party attendees drank wine, ordered four large pizzas to share, and took turns going down a slide belonging to Johnson’s son, Wilf, according to eyewitness accounts and photos reviewed by The Telegraph. Someone spilled wine on a copy machine and almost damaged the laptop that served as the jukebox for the evening.
The party started as two different going-away events and then merged in the garden and lasted until 1 a.m. Slack, who now serves as deputy editor of The Sun, apologized “unreservedly” for the party.
A spokesperson for the prime minister claims that Johnson attended neither event and spent the day at Chequers Court, the country home of the sitting prime minister, but an independent investigation into the matter may still turn up new evidence to complicate matters.
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Johnson cannot afford any further scandal as the parties have thus far damaged his reputation with the British public. His insistence to push through further restrictions in the face of an omicron variant surge also destroyed his popularity in the Conservative Party, with around 100 Conservative ministers voting against his “Plan B” restrictions in a devastating rebuke of his leadership.
Johnson admitted that he attended a drinks event during the first lockdown of the pandemic, and rumors continue to swirl that he authorized and attended events during the 2020 holiday season lockdown.
Former Conservative cabinet minister David Davis Wednesday morning addressed the House of Commons and told Johnson, “In the name of God, go.”
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Six Conservative ministers have publicly declared no confidence in Johnson’s stewardship, with more ministers believed to have submitted letters of no confidence to party leadership.