Hours after news of the double exit broke, the former head of the Covid Taskforce apologized for another gathering in December 2020
According to reports in The Telegraph, No10 staff held two gatherings at Downing Street on 16 April 2021 to mark the departure of staff.
Downing Street has apologized to the Queen over fresh allegations of No10 parties taking place the day before Prince Philip’s funeral – as the former head of the Covid task force admitted to holding her own farewell event in December.
At the time, the country was in a period of national mourning following the death of the duke, and the next day the queen sat alone at her husband’s funeral.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “It is unfortunate that this has come at a time of national mourning and No10 have apologized to the Palace.”
They said the Prime Minister “recognized that No 10 should be held to the highest standards and take responsibility for things we haven’t done right”.
It is understood the formal apology was made to Buckingham Palace through official channels via a phone call.
Mr Johnson is believed not to have spoken to the Queen in person since his weekly audience with her.
Asked if the apology was an admission that the event was a social rather than a working meeting, the spokesman said: “The Prime Minister said earlier this week that miscalculations have been made and it is right that people are apologizing.”
The new allegations of rule-breaking on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral are covered by the Sue Gray Inquiry.
When asked whether the Prime Minister was aware of the events, No. 10 reiterated that Mr Johnson was not in London on the date in question as he was staying at his country residence.
Mr Johnson was not invited to any of the exit parties and the spokesman would not say when he first found out about it.
At the time of the parties, government guidelines said: “You must not meet indoors except with your household or support bubble. They can meet outdoors, including in gardens, in groups of six or two households.”
Hours after news of the double exit broke, the former head of the government’s Covid Taskforce apologized for another meeting at the Cabinet Office in December 2020.
Kate Josephs, now Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, said that on December 17 – the day before Christmas Gathering No.
At the time, indoor gatherings were banned under Covid-19 restrictions.
“I’m really sorry that I did that and for the anger people will feel as a result. Sheffield has suffered greatly during this pandemic and I apologize unreservedly,” she said in a statement.
She said she did not attend any Downing Street event and was cooperating with the Gray Inquiry.
It’s the latest revelation in a damaging week for Mr Johnson, who has been urged to resign by opposition parties and a handful of his own MPs.
Former culture secretary Karen Bradley told Times Radio that the public needed “reassurance” and all the information at once, rather than the “drip, drip, drip” of party allegations. She said she is meeting with her local Conservative Party association to discuss the issue.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer reiterated his calls for his resignation, saying: “This shows how seriously Boris Johnson has belittled the post of Prime Minister.
“The Conservatives have failed Britain. An apology isn’t the only thing the Prime Minister should offer the palace today.
“Boris Johnson should do the right thing and resign.”