Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure after reports that Downing Street staff held two parties the night before the queen was pictured alone mourning the death of her husband, Prince Philip.
The Daily Telegraph reported that two departure parties were held on 16 April last year in Downing Street for staff. Downing Street did not deny that any incident took place.
The next morning the queen sat alone during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, which was attended by just 30 family members to comply with coronavirus restrictions.
Members of the congregation wore masks and sat at a social distance. The public was also encouraged not to pay their respects in person, but to follow the coverage of the funeral on television or radio.
The government leadership at the time said: “You may not socialize indoors, except with your household or support bubble. You can meet outside, including in gardens, in groups of six people or two households. ”
The newspaper quotes eyewitnesses who said about 30 people took part in two Downing Street parties that collided in one, with staff dancing to music until the early hours of the morning in a basement below number 10.
One witness claims a celebration was sent to the Co-op supermarket on the Strand with a suitcase to be filled with bottles of wine and back to Downing Street.
One party was held for a photographer and the other for the Prime Minister’s former director of communications, James Slack. The newspaper said the prime minister was not present at number 10 on the day the parties allegedly took place.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they did to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those who work from home. ”
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of Labor, said on Twitter: “The queen sat alone in mourning like so many at the time with personal trauma and sacrifice to abide by the rules in the national interest. I have no words for the culture and behavior at Number 10 and the money stops with the PM. ”
The prime minister has previously had questions about allegations made by other parties at various times when pandemic restrictions were in place.
The latest revelation has prompted and intensified the investigation into the party culture in Downing Street by the Covid-19 pandemic questions about Johnson’s leadership.
Johnson was forced to apologize earlier this week after admitting he attended a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, when such gatherings were banned.
The admission led to ask him to resign of the leader of the Scottish Tories and a handful of MPs in his own party.
Andrew Bridgen on Thursday became the youngest MP to ask for Johnson’s resignation. He said he had submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Tories, in which he demanded a motion of no confidence in Johnson. Fifty-four such letters would cause a vote.
Cabinet Minister asked for patience while Sue Gray, a senior government official investigating a series of rallies across Whitehall that allegedly violated coronavirus restrictions, completed her report.
“The queen sitting alone mourning the loss of her husband was the defining image of lockdown,” Sir Liberal Democrat leader Ed Ed Davey said on Twitter. “Not because she is the queen, but because she was just another person who mourns alone like too many others. While mourning, Number 10 held a party. Johnson has to go. ”