UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going through fire and water right now after multiple reports of Downing Street parties emerged. Johnson faced public outrage over gatherings in No 10 when such festivities were banned and Britons were not allowed to socialise indoors during coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in 2020.
On Wednesday (January 12) Johnson apologised for a party that was brought to notice by Dominic Cummings, who is a former aide of PM Johnson. Cummings said the probe should be done on the “Socially Distanced Drinks” email sent on May 20, 2020.
But the apology will mean little to the public if reports of such parties, gatherings, festivities will keep emerging of the time when the country was reeling with a deadly Covid wave.
The latest media reports have claimed that Downing Street held gatherings every week throughout the pandemic. The staff even invested in a £142 refrigerator to keep their beer and wine cold.
UK-based tabloid The Mirror reported citing sources that Boris Johnson attended those weekly gatherings and he encouraged the government aides to “let off steam”.
Reports mentioned that the staff used wheely suitcases and took turns to stock up on drinks at the local Tesco Metro.
The weekly gatherings, termed as ‘wine-time Fridays’, were even put into the electronic calendars of 50 No 10 staff every week between 4pm and 7pm (local time).
The Times reported citing Downing Street insider that it was a “culture of 3am sessions”, adding, “People used to sleep off their hangovers in the buildings overnight on sofas and in the mornings there were empty drinks on the desks that the cleaners had to pick up. There was a culture of boozing.”
Party on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral
On Thursday, The Telegraph reported two leaving parties or farewell parties were held in No 10 on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
As per the report, the parties were held between April 9 and April 17, a time when the country was in a period of national mourning after Queen Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip’s death.
Reports of lockdown-breaching parties came as a massive blow as Boris has been criticised over a range of issues, from COVID-19 handling to expensive refurbishment of his apartment.
Downing Street apologises to the Queen for two parties held in Downing Street the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.