LONDON.- A suitcase full of alcohol and dancing until dawn while Elizabeth II prepared to bury her husband in full confinement. Downing Street apologized this Friday with the queen after these revelations that end a disastrous week for Boris Johnson.
This new leak to the press fell like an umpteenth bomb for the British prime minister, facing his biggest crisis since he triumphantly came to power in 2019 promising to carry out the stalled Brexit. And also for the 95-year-old monarch, who on Thursday had already had to deal with the scandal caused by her “favorite son”, Prince Andrew, who was deprived of his royal honors in the face of the threat of a civil suit in the United States for sexual assault on a minor.
In an image that will remain engraved as a symbol of the rigor of the lockdowns in the United Kingdom, on April 17, 2021, the queen, in deep mourning, sitting all alone in the chapel of Windsor castle during the funeral of Prince Philip, to whom she was married for seven decades.
According to the conservative newspaper Daily Telegraph, that same morning Downing Street staff had celebrated in style the departure of two collaborators: Communications director James Slack, now deputy editor of The Sun, and a personal photographer of Johnson.
“It is deeply regrettable that this has taken place at a time of national mourning, and Downing Street has apologized to the palace.”, declared this Friday a spokesman for the prime minister, a humiliating end to a week in which the already known as “party gate” or scandal of parties in government premises during confinement.
These two parties, one of which was held in a basement of the government headquarters, ended up joining in the gardens of the official residence, according to the Telegraph, a newspaper close to power.
One person went to a supermarket to buy bottles of wine that he took to Downing Street in a suitcase, he says. At that moment, indoor gatherings were prohibited, with only a maximum of six people allowed to gather outdoors.
In a statement on Friday, Slack apologized “unreservedly for the anger and pain caused,” saying it took “full responsibility.”
Johnson, 57, was not present. It was, according to a spokesman in Checkers, the country residence of the British heads of government.
But these new revelations add to the already long list of alleged illegal parties, which show, according to witnesses quoted by the media, a true culture of the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Downing Street.
And the list continues to grow: on Friday afternoon, the former head of the group in charge of drawing up anticovid restrictions, Kate Josephs, also apologized for having organized a farewell party at the executive’s offices on December 17, 2020.
Badly weakened in the polls, Johnson is fighting to keep the reins of his party and government after acknowledging Wednesday in Parliament that attended one of these parties during lockdown in May 2020. In his defense he stated that he thought it was a “work event”, prompting widespread ridicule.
Several Conservative MPs, some of whom were ardent supporters of the prime minister, joined the opposition in calling for his resignation.
Andrew Bridgen was the last to present a letter before the committee that manages the parliamentary group of the Conservative Party, denouncing a “moral vacuum at the heart of government” and calling for a motion of internal censure against its leader.
If enough of these letters are received, the committee will have to organize a new assembly to replace Johnson. And while most of his government has supported him, one of the heavyweights, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, seen as a possible candidate for prime minister, has been much more reserved.
Meanwhile, Johnson and his ministers repeat over and over again that we must wait for the publication of the conclusions, at best next week, of an internal investigation into alleged illegal parties commissioned by senior official Sue Gray.
but the diary The Times advanced on Friday that it would not have found sufficient evidence of criminal offenses.