Politics

PM’s former spokesperson ‘apologises unreservedly’ for No 10 party


Boris Johnson’s former director of communications James Slack has said he wants to “apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused” by a party held to mark his leaving Downing Street in April 2021.

It comes after reports that two events were held on the evening of Friday 16 April 2021 — when England was under step 2 coronavirus restrictions which banned indoor mixing and restricted numbers of funerals and weddings.

The gatherings also occurred on the evening before Prince Philip’s funeral that saw the Queen sit alone and wearing a face mask at a socially-distanced ceremony as he bade farewell to her husband of 73 years.

The Daily Telegraph said both events were leaving parties for staff working in the prime minister’s inner team. One was said to be held for Mr Slack, who is now deputy editor-in-chef of The Sun newspaper, and the other for Mr Johnson’s personal photographer.

In a statement released on Friday morning by The Sun’s publisher, News UK, Mr Slack said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused. This event should not have happened at the time that it did. I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.”

He said he could not comment further on as the matter had been referred to an investigation being carried out by Sue Gray, who has been tasked by the prime minister to produce a report on allegations of rule breaking events held in government buildings.

According to the report of the No 10 gatherings, which lasted beyond midnight, witnesses said that “excessive alcohol” was drunk, attendees danced to music DJ’d by a special adviser and at one point a staffer was allegedly sent to a local Co-op supermarket with a suitcase which they filed with booths of wine before returning to the party.

A Number 10 spokesperson told The Independent: “On this individual’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 working from home.”

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