Thursday, January 20, 2022

“Downing Street staff drank and danced” before Queen sat alone mourning Prince Philip

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A staff member was reportedly sent to fill a case with wine for the events, which took place “after midnight”.

Hours before the Queen was pictured alone during service at St George’s Chapel on April 17, advisers and officials gathered for two farewell events for colleagues The Telegraph.

Downing Street staff danced and drank into the wee hours at two boisterous parties on the night before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral, it was reported on Thursday night.

A staff member was allegedly sent off with a suitcase to buy wine at a beachside supermarket near Charing Cross train station.

At that time, indoor socializing with people outside of your household or bubble was forbidden. Even after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on April 9, the country found itself in national mourning.

The Prime Minister was not at Downing Street at the time of the event.

It’s the first allegation by a No10 party in 2021 and comes as Brexiteer MP Andrew Bridgen joined calls for the Prime Minister’s resignation after admitting he attended a garden party in Downing Street’s garden in May 2020 .

Mr Bridgen filed a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson on Thursday night, saying there was “still time to do the right thing”.

The two farewell events in April 2021 were for James Slack, Mr Johnson’s communications director, and one of the Prime Minister’s personal photographers. The Telegraph reported.

The two gatherings reportedly took place in different parts of the complex before merging over the course of the night.

Shelley Williams-Walker, Mr Johnson’s operations manager, was reportedly responsible for the music. She was nicknamed “DJ SWW” because of her initials, a partygoer told the newspaper.

Mr. Slack, now deputy editor of The sun, This morning he offered his “unreserved” apology for the “hurt and anger” caused by the event.

According to sources speaking to the newspaper, the parties saw dancing and binge drinking and ran into the early hours.

Around midnight, the party moved to Downing Street’s garden for Mr Johnson’s photographers, fearing guests would spill too much wine onto the basement carpet while dancing.

According to the report, the two parties merged in the garden. A staff member was playing on a swing that belonged to the Prime Minister’s young son and broke it.

While a No 10 spokesman said Mr Johnson was not at Downing Street on the day of the gatherings, the new revelations will put more pressure on the Prime Minister.

He is already facing several resignation calls for attending a Downing Street garden party in May 2020.

Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale described the new allegations as “completely unacceptable and totally insensitive and should never have happened”.

He said that while he “didn’t hold the Prime Minister responsible for them” because he wasn’t there, the events “revealed a culture within Downing Street which is obviously top-down and should not be allowed in”.

Sir Roger previously described Mr Johnson as a “dead man walking”.

Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said that despite the Prime Minister’s absence “the money stays with him”.

“The Queen sat alone in mourning, like so many at the time, with personal trauma and sacrifice to uphold rules in the national interest,” she said.

“I have no words for the culture and behavior at number 10 and the dollar stops at the PM. The Queen sat alone in mourning, like so many at the time, with personal trauma and sacrifice to uphold rules in the national interest. I have no words for the culture and behavior at number 10 and the money stops at the PM.”

Meanwhile, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, said she couldn’t understand how “anyone thought that was OK”.

“Dozens of people in the basement with a DJ, dancing and a suitcase full of liquor? I still can’t imagine how anyone – anyone – thought any of this was okay,” she tweeted.

“Especially when the rest of the country was doing its best to play by the rules, often at great personal cost.”

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