British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office apologized to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday after another Downing Street party scandal amid Britain’s health restrictions. This time the party was held hours before the funeral of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip. And this case could harm the leader who risks his place.
“It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and 10 (Downing Street) has issued an apology to the Palace,” a spokesman for the Tory leader said. These apologies were made through official channels.
After a first party scandal given by Boris Johnson’s government, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, without social distancing and while the British were strictly confined or unable to meet for the end of year celebrations, the Conservative leader has just to be shaken up by a new affair revealed by the media.
This time, the facts are even more serious since they directly affect the British royal family and show a lack of respect for the mourning of the reigning family.
The party dates back to April 17 and marked the farewell party for two Downing Street employees, as the country was plunged into a period of national mourning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband.
Late into the night, Downing Street staff, a group of around 30, were celebrating the departure of two team members, according to The Telegraph, communications director James Slack and a personal photographer for Boris Johnson.
And if the Prime Minister was not present, it was nevertheless his closest aides who were gathered in the basement of the building and in the garden to dance and drink wine bought in a supermarket and brought back without a suitcase, according to the British daily close to power.
James Slack, who was celebrating his departure, has since become the deputy editor of the tabloid The Sun. In a statement, he apologized “unreservedly for the anger and pain caused”. “This event should not have happened at the time,” he added, saying he took “full responsibility.”
Indeed, not only was the party given in the midst of national mourning and a few hours from Prince Philip’s funeral, but it was given when the government had decided to ban indoor meetings and had set those indoors at 6 people. outside.
Hours later, Queen Elizabeth, appeared dressed in black, wearing a mask and seated alone in the chapel at Windsor Castle during Prince Philip’s funeral, complying with national health rules.
Boris Johnson, already embarrassed by previous cases of meetings of his services in the midst of a pandemic and which earned him a wave of criticism, must now also face the wrath of his own camp.
Several elected Tories have pointed the finger at this new scandal, especially since it affects the royal family and risks angering the British who are already critical of the health strategy in the country. The 57-year-old leader has already been the subject of a letter of defiance and if he continues to fall into unpopularity, his camp could replace him at the head of the conservatives.