The PM’s former Official Spokesman and Director of Communications said the party “should not have happened at the time that it did”
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
Boris Johnson’s former spokesman has apologised after it emerged a leaving do was held for him the night before Prince Philip’s socially-distanced funeral.
James Slack issued a shamefaced statement over a party held to mark his leaving Downing Street in April 2021.
Mr Slack, now a senior executive at The Sun newspaper, said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused. This event should not have happened at the time that it did. I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.”
He said he could not comment further as the matter had been referred to Sue Gray’s ever-growing investigation into more than half a dozen parties.
The party was one of two alleged to have been held in Downing Street on April 16, hours before the Queen sat alone at her husband’s memorial.
The other is said to have been a leaving do for a photographer and involved a DJ in the basement of No10, and a staff member being dispatched to fill a suitcase with wine.
Hours before the Queen followed strict coronavirus rules and sat alone at St George’s Chapel, Windsor in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, officials in No10 allegedly drank late into the night as they said farewell to Boris Johnson ’s top spin doctor and one of the Prime Minister’s photographers.
His staff were said to have held two different events inside the Downing Street complex – despite the Government’s guidance at the time warning: “You must not socialise indoors except with your household or support bubble.
“You can meet outdoors, including in gardens, in groups of six people or two households.”
Tory minister Damian Hinds said he was “shocked, I was shocked” to read the story, adding: “The whole nation shared with Her Majesty in her warning.”
He told Sky News the story had only just come out in the press, and “clearly I wasn’t there and I don’t know first hand otherwise”.
But he added: “If the details that are in this story turn out to be true, clearly people are going to form their judgement.”
This breaking news story is being updated.