British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office apologized to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday after officials were reported to have partied late into the night at the prime minister’s official residence in Downing Street on the eve of the Prince’s funeral. Philip, at a time when social gatherings indoors were banned.
Johnson faces his government’s most serious crisis after news of a series of social gatherings at his official residence during the Covid-19 lockdown periods, some of them held at times when ordinary people could not say goodbye in person to loved ones. who died.
After building a political career based on ignoring accepted norms, Johnson is now under increasing pressure from his own Conservative Party colleagues to leave the government, due to apparent rule-breaking at the Downing Street official residence.
In an extraordinary twist to a saga widely satirized by comedians and cartoonists, The Daily Telegraph newspaper said the parties were held inside the Downing Street residence on April 16, 2021, the day before Prince Philip’s funeral.
“It is deeply regrettable that this came at a time of national mourning and No. 10 (Downing Street) has apologized to the Palace,” Johnson’s spokesman told reporters.
Johnson was at his country residence in Checkers that day and had not been invited to any meetings, his spokesman said.
The party was so raucous in Downing Street, according to the paper, that the team went to a nearby supermarket to buy a bag of liquor, used a laptop to play music and broke a swing used by the prime minister’s son.
The following day, Queen Elizabeth II bid farewell to Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, after his death at the age of 99.
Queen Elizabeth II sits alone during the funeral of her husband Prince Philip at St George’s Chapel on April 17, 2021 — Photo: Victoria Jones/Pool/Reuters
Dressed in black and wearing a white face mask, the 95-year-old queen starred in a shocking scene as she sat alone, rigidly abiding by coronavirus rules, during the funeral service for Philip at Windsor Castle.
Opponents have already called for Johnson, 57, to step down, painting him as a charlatan who has demanded that the British people follow some of the toughest rules in peacetime history, while his own team cheered.
A small but growing group within the Conservative Party is repeating the call for the resignation, fearing the incident will cause lasting damage to electoral prospects.
“Unfortunately, the prime minister’s position has become untenable,” said Conservative lawmaker Andrew Bridgen, a former Johnson supporter. “The time is right for him to leave the stage.”
Boris Johnson speaks to the British Parliament on January 12, 2022 — Photo: Reuters TV
Johnson offered a variety of explanations for the parties, from claims that no rules had been broken to expressing sympathy for the public’s fury at the apparent hypocrisy at the heart of the British government.