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UK government apologizes to Queen for ‘suitcase of wine’ evenings on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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UK government apologizes to Queen for ‘suitcase of wine’ evenings on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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The day before Prince Philip’s funeral last April, as the nation mourned officially and Queen Elizabeth prepared to put her husband to rest for nearly 74 years, alcohol-fueled rallies took place in offices government at 10 Downing Street, as first reported by The Telegraph Journal.

The government has now apologized to Buckingham Palace for the events. “It is deeply regrettable that this has happened at a time of national mourning and No.10 has apologized to the Palace,” Deputy official spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Friday.

One of the events took place to mark the departure of communications director James Slack, who is now associate editor of the nation’s best-selling newspaper, The Sun.

Slack also apologized “for the anger and hurt caused” by the event, which it said “should not have happened at the time it happened,” in a statement reported by PA Media. Friday.

The apology followed Thursday’s Telegraph report, which said two rallies of up to 30 people were held in Downing Street on April 16, 2021.

Accompanied by the headline “An Alcohol Race to Fill a Suitcase with Wine,” The Telegraph reported that party staff brought liquor from a nearby store in a suitcase, played music, danced and smashed a swing used by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s grandson.

The Telegraph is often seen as a cheerleader for Johnson, who was once his correspondent in Brussels and wrote a regular paid column for the publication even after entering high profile politics.

A day after the rally, Philip’s funeral provided one of the most powerful images of the pandemic. The Queen sat alone in the Chapel at Windsor Castle during the service, following strict rules of social distancing, and a photograph of the lone monarch drew enormous sympathy from the public both at home and abroad. foreigner.

The Covid-19 restrictions at the time, which imposed a maximum of 30 guests at the funeral, also prevented some of Philip’s closest friends from attending.

In April 2021, people in England were banned from socializing indoors with people outside their homes or, if they live alone, with members of more than one other household. Outdoor gatherings were limited to groups of six people or two households.

Johnson did not attend the April 16 party, the Telegraph reported, but news of yet another social rally under his watch as the rest of the country lived under strict lockdown adds pressure on the already beleaguered leader .

A Downing Street spokesperson responded to CNN’s request for comment on the Telegraph’s report on Thursday, saying: “On this individual’s last day, he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they are doing. she had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those who work from home. ” The spokesperson confirmed they were referring to James Slack.

UK government apologizes to Queen for ‘suitcase of wine’ evenings on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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Asked by CNN for further comment on Friday morning, a Downing Street spokesperson said the above statement was the only one that would be released by the office.

The latest revelations only deepen the political hole Johnson found himself in during social events in and around Downing Street in the spring of 2020 and in the run-up to Christmas that year, when nationwide restrictions were put in place. prohibited such gatherings.

When these questions started, Johnson initially pushed them off saying that no parties had taken place and that his employees and assistants had always followed the rules. Since then, a flood of allegations and leaks have shed new light on several gatherings.

The news has sparked public fury, sinks Johnson’s Conservative Party in opinion polls and led to scrutiny of his position.
Johnson on Wednesday apologized for attending an event in the garden at the back of 10 Downing Street on May 20, 2020, but said he believed the rally to be a professional event – a claim the Chief oppositionist Keir Starmer called it “ridiculous” and “offensive”.

An investigation into the rallies led by senior official Sue Gray is underway.

CNN’s Luke McGee, Rob Picheta and Lauren Said-Moorhouse contributed to this report.

UK government apologizes to Queen for ‘suitcase of wine’ evenings on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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