Boris Johnson’s former communications director apologizes ‘unconditionally for anger and hurt’ over number 10 departure

Boris Johnson’s former communications director James Slack has said he would “apologise unconditionally for the anger and pain caused” by a party held to mark his departure from Downing Street in April 2021.

It follows reports that two events were held on Friday evening 16 April 2021 – when England fell under Step 2 coronavirus restrictions banning indoor mixing and restricting attendance at funerals and weddings.

The gatherings also took place on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral in St George’s Chapel, where the Queen sat alone, wearing a face mask, in a spaced ceremony to bid her 73-year-old husband farewell.

The Daily Telegram said both events left parties for staff working in the prime minister’s inner team. One would be held for Mr Slack, who is now deputy editor of The sun newspaper, and the other for Mr Johnson’s personal photographer.

In a statement released Friday morning by the sun publisher, News UK, mr. Slack said: “I want to apologize unconditionally 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,” he added.

However, Mr Slack said he was unable to comment further as the matter had been referred to an investigation conducted by Sue Gray, who has been tasked by the Prime Minister with preparing a report on allegations of rule-breaking events in government buildings.

According to the record of the No 10 rallies, which lasted past midnight, witnesses said “excessive alcohol” had been consumed, the attendees danced to music played by a special adviser, and at one point a staffer went to a local Co-op supermarket with a suitcase they filled with bottles of wine before returning to the party.

Queen Elizabeth II after taking her seat for the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, on 17 April 2021 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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Queen Elizabeth II after taking her place for the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, on April 17, 2021 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

(PA wire)

A spokesperson for No. 10 said: the independent: “On this person’s last day, he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those who worked from home. “

Downing Street also said the Prime Minister was not in number 10 on April 16, 2021, but they would not comment on the claim of a separate same-night departure for Mr Johnson’s photographer.

On Sky News, Security Secretary Damian Hinds said he was “shocked” to read about reports of further gatherings in Downing Street, but stressed he was “not in a position to comment” as he was not there.

Confirming that the event will be investigated by Ms Gray, he said: “The job description was clear that those investigations should cover multiple events, alleged events, their nature, who attended them, what their purpose was, and I think that we need to see what comes out in that report.”

The latest reports will add to pressure on Boris Johnson, who is facing calls to resign members of his own party after admitting to MPs earlier this week that he attended a separate number 10 party in the rose garden during the first national. shutdown of England on May 20, 2020.

Labor shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry said the Queen had embodied “the suffering” of the country during her reign, adding: “And now we’ve had this collective trauma of Covid, and the way she’s dealing with it. behaved that makes us all proud.

“You think about that and you compare it to what was going on in Downing Street, where a culture that had been established during the time of the pandemic, where the Prime Minister had made it perfectly clear that he was perfectly fine with this, and frankly we wouldn’t have seen these parties, not just one party, but two parties in one night, if they really thought the prime minister didn’t approve.”

The Labor front bencher added: “But the point is that the culture is set by the Prime Minister, it is his responsibility. All you heard from 10 Downing Street is that the Prime Minister wasn’t there. So what, what.

“He’s in charge of Downing Street, he’s in charge of the government. They had DJs in the basement, there were grown men playing on swings, they sent suitcases for more booze – the night before Her Majesty did the right thing and had a funeral with very few people and she was all alone because that’s what the rules said. “

On Thursday, Andrew Bridgen, a Brexiteer and Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, was the last to publicly announce that he had filed a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

While defending Mr Johnson over severing ties with the EU, he said there was “a moral vacuum at the heart of our government” over disclosures at parties held in No. 10 while the country was subject to severe Covid restrictions.

“If Boris really loves our country, our democracy and our party, he should go now with some semblance of grace,” he added.

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