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Downing Street apologises to Buckingham Palace for parties on eve of Prince Philip’s funeral – live | Politics

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In case you missed it (!), last night The Telegraph (paywall) published reports that staff inside No 10 held two staff leaving dos featuring alcohol, and one with loud music, on the evening before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral in April last year.

Eyewitnesses told the paper a combined total of about 30 people took part in what appeared to be social events in different parts of Downing Street, before both gatherings combined in the garden.

According to one attender, a staff member was sent with a suitcase to the Co-op on the Strand, a short walk away, returning with the case filled with bottles of wine.

Boris Johnson was not at Downing Street that evening, having gone to Chequers, the prime ministerial country retreat, on the Thursday evening and remaining into the weekend.

At the time, England was in stage two of the government’s gradual relaxation from lockdown. Up to six people or two families could meet outside, while indoors, people could only socialise with their household or support bubble.

One of the events at No 10 marked the departure from government of James Slack, who was the prime minister’s official spokesperson under both Theresa May and Johnson, before becoming Johnson’s director of communications, according to the Telegraph. He is now deputy editor of the Sun.

The other was for one of Johnson’s personal photographers, the paper reported. Witnesses told the Telegraph that the event to mark the photographer’s departure mainly took place in the basement area of No 10, with loud music playing.

Both groups reportedly moved outside around midnight, with drinking carrying on into the early hours of the morning. While in the garden one attender broke a swing belonging to Johnson’s infant son, Wilfred, a witness told the paper.

More on that story here: Two Downing Street parties held evening before Prince Philip’s funeral – reports

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