No 10 accused of more rule-breaking staff partieson January 13, 2022 at 10:34 pm

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Downing Street does not deny reports two events took place on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Downing Street

Image source, Reuters

Downing Street staff have been accused of holding two leaving parties in No 10 on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

The Telegraph reported the gatherings were made up of around 30 people, drinking alcohol and dancing to music until the early hours.

Restrictions at the time still banned indoor mixing between different households.

No 10 have not denied the events took place on 16 April 2021.

However, they did confirm Boris Johnson’s former director of communications, James Slack, “gave a farewell speech” to thank colleagues ahead of taking up a new role as deputy editor of The Sun newspaper.

Mr Johnson was not at either gathering as he was spending the weekend at his country estate, Chequers.

But the latest revelations come as the prime minister is facing fury from his own party over attending a drinks gathering in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown.

Mr Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that he had joined staff for 25 minutes on 20 May 2020 to thank them for their hard work during the pandemic – but he said he had “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.

A number of senior Tories have since called for his resignation, with backbencher Andrew Bridgen becoming the latest to join them.

In a piece for the Telegraph published on Thursday, he said he had submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM “with a heavy heart”, adding: “The clue is in the word leader – to lead is to set an example for others to follow.

“It has hurt this week to hear that the leader of our great Conservative Party has not been prepared to lead in such a way.”

But Mr Johnson’s cabinet have rallied around him, pleading with MPs to wait for the conclusions of an investigation into parties held across government during lockdowns, being carried out by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

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