Downing Street apologises to Buckingham Palace over parties before Duke's funeral

Downing Street has apologized to Buckingham Palace after it was revealed parties were being held at Number 10 the day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.

Two gatherings were reportedly held at Downing Street where the Prime Minister’s former communications director James Slack apologized for the “anger and pain” one of the events – a farewell held for him – had caused.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed that No 10 has apologized to the Palace.

The spokesman said: “It is deeply regrettable that this has come at a time of national mourning and No 10 has apologized to the Palace.

“You heard from the Prime Minister this week, he recognized that No 10 should be held to the highest standards and take responsibility for things that we haven’t done right.”

The day after the events on April 16, 2021, the Queen attended the funeral of her husband Philip, wearing a face mask and in accordance with Covid restrictions, was social distancing from her family at Windsor Castle. Boris Johnson’s former communications director James Slack today apologized for the “anger and pain” caused by a party to mark his departure from Downing Street in April 2021.

The Daily Telegraph reported that a farewell to Mr Slack was held on April 16, 2021.

It was one of two farewell parties at Downing Street hours before the Queen was said to be sitting alone at Philip’s funeral.

Mr Slack, who was appointed deputy editor of The Sun newspaper last year, said: “I would like to apologize unreservedly for the anger and pain caused. This event should not have happened at the time it happened. I am very sorry and I take full responsibility.”

But he said he could not comment further as the matter had been escalated to senior official Sue Gray as part of her investigation.

Hours before the Queen followed strict coronavirus rules and sat alone at St George’s Chapel in Windsor in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh, officials at No 10 were said to be drinking late into the night when they said goodbye to Mr Slack and one of the Photographers of the Prime Minister said goodbye.

His staff are said to have held two separate events at the Downing Street complex – despite Government advice at the time: “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.”

Advisors and officials reportedly held farewell ceremonies on April 16 to mark the departure of the snapper and Mr. Slack.

As the photographer exited, a laptop was allegedly placed on a copier and music was playing, reports said The mirror.

A spokeswoman for No10 said of Mr Slack’s departure: “On that person’s last day, he gave a farewell speech to thank every team for the work they had done in supporting him, both those who came to work in the office and needed to be on one screen for those working from home.”

The Telegraph quoted a No 10 spokesman as saying Mr Johnson was not at Downing Street that day. He is said to have been with Checkers.


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