Johnson still under pressure: lockdown parties ahead of Prince Philip’s funeral

Status: 01/14/2022 03:50 a.m

Premier Johnson is still under pressure: the day before Prince Philip’s funeral, dozens of his employees are said to have celebrated two lockdown parties at the official residence – despite strict corona rules. According to the newspaper report, he himself was not present.

On the eve of Queen consort Prince Philip’s funeral in April, dozens of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s employees are said to have celebrated two lockdown parties at his official residence. As the newspaper “Daily Telegraph” reported, a total of about 30 people took part. They drank alcohol and danced. At that time, there were strict contact and distance rules due to the corona pandemic.

Regulations forced the Queen to sit alone in the chapel at her Windsor residence the next day as her husband of 73 years was buried there. The photo of the lonely queen was one of the defining impressions of the pandemic.

After 73 years of marriage, Queen Elizabeth II had to say goodbye to her husband – because of the pandemic at a great distance from her family.

Image: AP

The outrage is great. “While they mourned, No. 10 celebrated,” said Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey. Although Johnson himself did not attend the April 16, 2021 parties, nor was he present at Downing Street, he is held responsible for the behavior of his staff.

“I have no words for the culture and behavior in No. 10,” said deputy leader of the main opposition Labor party, Angela Rayner. The fish stinks from the head. It is the first known lockdown party at the seat of government in 2021. So far, several celebrations in May and December 2020 have become public.

A report from Monday caused a lot of trouble. Accordingly, on May 20, 2020, Johnson’s office manager invited around 100 employees to a garden party in an email. He emphasized: “Bring your own alcohol.”

Johnson apologized in Parliament on Wednesday for the impression that those who make the Corona rules are not sticking to them. He acknowledged being present in the garden for 25 minutes on May 20, 2020. According to his impression, it was a work meeting. In retrospect, he was wrong about that, Johnson said. However, he called for the result of an ongoing internal investigation to be awaited before consequences are drawn. The opposition has already called for his resignation, as have some MPs from Johnson’s Conservative Party.

So far no denials

Because of the proximity to the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, who is extremely popular with the people, the celebrations that have now become known are considered particularly dangerous for Johnson. Downing Street did not deny the parties, as also reported by the BBC.

Johnson’s former communications director James Slack gave a farewell speech to thank his staff, a spokeswoman said. She did not go into further details. According to the Telegraph, the second farewell was about a personal photographer of the prime minister.

Strict distance rules were in force in mid-April 2021, members of different households were not allowed to meet in closed rooms. As the newspaper further reported, an advisor to Johnson was temporarily responsible for the music. Several bottles of wine from a nearby supermarket were brought in a suitcase as a refill. A participant used his son’s swing in the garden of Johnson’s official residence and broke it. The two initially separate events would have merged around midnight.

Article as part of the power struggle?

Commentators rated the article in the “Telegraph”, which is actually Johnson’s house newspaper and for which the 57-year-old himself used to work, as part of the power struggle for the future of the prime minister. Johnson has been trying with all his might to rally supporters around for days. If 15 percent of the 360 ​​conservative MPs speak out against the prime minister, there will be a vote of no confidence in the parliamentary group.

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