Two rallies in Downing Street breaking through the closure were held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021, a newspaper claims.
Allegations of more parties that close at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office in Downing Street is raising public anger in the UK as new reports claim government staff held social events last year while Queen Elizabeth II mourned her husband.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that two booze parties were held at Johnson’s official residence on April 16, 2021, in violation of the restrictions on social gatherings under coronavirus restrictions that were in place at the time.
Johnson was at his Checkers country house that day, the newspaper said.
About 30 people apparently attended the events and enjoyed drinking and dancing. The gatherings in the Downing Street Garden are said to have taken place before they finished in the early hours of the morning.
The next day, Elizabeth said goodbye to Prince Philip (99). The image of the monarch sitting alone in the church at her deceased husband’s memorial service was one of the sharpest images of the United Kingdom under lock and key.
A Downing Street spokesman confirmed that a departure speech for Johnson’s former director of communications, James Slack, was delivered on the evening of April 16, but declined to comment when asked if there was drinking or dancing. BBC reported Friday.
Staff at the parties reportedly went to a nearby supermarket to fill a suitcase with alcohol, used a laptop to play music in the Downing Street basement, and a swing used by the prime minister’s young son, broken amid their soiree, reports The Telegraph, citing unnamed witnesses.
At that time, Britons were not allowed to socialize indoors, except with those from their household or so-called support bubble. People could socialize outdoors, but in groups of up to six people, or two households of any size.
PM under increasing pressure
Johnson, who won a landslide victory in 2019, is facing the most serious crisis of his premiership after a string of scandals amid growing reports of rallies.
The Prime Minister Wednesday acknowledge he attended a “bring your own booze” party at his official residence in May 2020 and apologized.
British police said on Thursday they would not investigate alleged incidents at Downing Street unless an ongoing internal government investigation found evidence of possible criminal offenses.
Opponents called for Johnson to resign and regard the 57-year-old as a charlatan who demanded that Britons follow some of the strictest rules in the country’s peacetime history while he and his staff partyed.
A small but growing number in its own Conservative Party heard these calls, fearing it would permanently damage its election prospects.
Johnson gave a variety of explanations from the parties, including denying that any rules were violated.
In recent days, he has acknowledged public anger over the apparent hypocrisy of his government.