‘Feel like an idiot!’ Funeral officer in tears for pushing relatives away

Camiel Chaudhary, 29, who works at West London Crematorium, said he feels “like an idiot” for tuning families away following outrage surrounding Boris Johnson‘s attendance at the Downing Street party in May 2020. Speaking to LBC, Mr Chaudhary said: “I’m a chapel attendant, a funeral officer at a crematorium… I stood at the big double doors and put my hand up and stopped a lot of people from coming in. Even cracked up faces, I had to tell them ‘no, I’m sorry, we have to stand our ground’.”

He noted: “Some people would push past you and you’d have to stand out their way, and some people would stand there and cry and say I understand.

“I feel like an idiot.

“I feel like I could’ve been more lenient.

“I mean, if the Government was being that lenient at the time, and we’re all standing here trying to follow the rules, and he can’t even follow the rules that he’s put out himself.”

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It comes as Downing Street has apologised to Buckingham Palace after it emerged parties were held in Number 10 the day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.

Two gatherings reportedly took place at Downing Street, with the Prime Minister’s former director of communications James Slack apologising for the “anger and hurt” one of the events – a leaving do held for him – had caused.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed No 10 has said sorry to the Palace.

The spokesman said: “It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and No 10 has apologised to the Palace.

“You heard from the PM this week, he’s recognised No 10 should be held to the highest standards, and take responsibility for things we did not get right.”

The day after the events on April 16 2021, the Queen attended her husband Philip’s funeral wearing a face mask and socially distanced from her family at Windsor Castle, in line with Covid restrictions.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said Boris Johnson was at his country residence Chequers on April 16 and had not been invited to the events.

Asked why No 10 had apologised rather than Mr Johnson himself, his spokesman said: “Well, again, the Prime Minister said earlier misjudgments have been made and it’s right people apologise, as the PM did earlier this week.”


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It is understood the apology had been delivered via a telephone call through official channels.

But Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said Mr Johnson should also be offering the Queen his resignation.

He said: “The Conservatives have let Britain down. An apology isn’t the only thing the Prime Minister should be offering the palace today.

“Boris Johnson should do the decent thing and resign.”