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by Louise Wilson
14 January 2022
Downing Street apologises to Queen over parties night before Prince Philip’s funeral

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Downing Street apologises to Queen over parties night before Prince Philip’s funeral

Downing Street has offered an official apology to the Queen over reports of two staff parties taking place at No 10 the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

The Telegraph reported that two separate leaving parties for staff had taken place on 16 April 2021 while restrictions on social gatherings were in place.

It is reported that these two parties merged and spilled into the garden at No 10, continuing until the early hours of 17 April.

Boris Johnson was not at the party as he was at Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister, at the time.

However it has raised questions about the culture of No 10 under his leadership.

A spokesperson for the PM said: “It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and Number 10 has apologised to the Palace.”

Pointing to his apology to the Commons over party allegations this week, the spokesperson said Johnson “recognised Number 10 should be held to the highest standards and take responsibility for things we did not get right”.

The apology came from Downing Street as a whole, as opposed to Johnson specifically. “The Prime Minister said earlier misjudgments have been made and it's right people apologise, as the PM did earlier this week,” the spokesperson continued.

At the time the parties took place indoor gatherings were banned (with the exception of support bubbles) and the rule of six was in place for outdoor gatherings.

The UK was also in a period of national mourning following the death of Prince Philip earlier that month.

Only 30 people were allowed to attend his funeral.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the Conservatives had “let Britain down”.

He added: “An apology isn't the only thing the Prime Minister should be offering the Palace today. Boris Johnson should do the decent thing and resign.”

The latest revelations follow a tough week for the Prime Minister, who was forced to admit he had attended a staff party in May 2020 – the height of the first lockdown.

Johnson apologised on Wednesday afternoon, but added that he “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.

The SNP and the Lib Dems have also called for his resignation, as has Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

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