Downing Street apologises to Queen over lockdown parties
January 15, 2022 6:07 am
Boris Johnson [Source: BBC]
Downing Street has apologised to Buckingham Palace for two staff parties in No 10 on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.
The gatherings, first reported by The Telegraph, took place on 16 April 2021 and went on until the early hours.
The PM’s spokesman said it was “deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning”.
Boris Johnson was not at either party – but he faces questions over alleged Covid rule-breaking at No 10.
The latest party revelations led to a backlash from opposition parties, who contrasted the behaviour of No 10 staff with pictures of the Queen sitting alone at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, due to Covid restrictions.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP are all calling for Mr Johnson to resign after he admitted attending a drinks party in the Downing Street garden during lockdown on 20 May 2020.
And Andrew Bridgen has become the fifth Conservative MP to publicly declare they have written to the chairman of the 1922 Committee – which organises Tory leadership contests – to say they have no confidence in the prime minister.
Fifty-four Conservative MPs have to write a letter to trigger a vote.
Speaking to BBC’s Politics North, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said Mr Johnson’s behaviour had been “unacceptable”.
The Conservative MP said he felt particularly emotional about the party held in the Downing Street garden on 20 May because around that time Covid restrictions had prevented him from being with his wife and twins when they were ill in hospital. The two boys subsequently died shortly after birth.
Mr Opperman said the prime minister should continue in post while the investigation into government gatherings is completed. But he said Mr Johnson needed to “change his ways” and run Downing Street “in a very, very different way”.