UK News When was Prince Philip’s funeral? What the Covid rules were at time of the duke’s death amid No 10 party row

07:48  16 january  2022
07:48  16 january  2022 Source:   inews.co.uk

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Downing Street is facing yet another party scandal, after accusations staff danced and drank alcohol at two separate leaving dos the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

It came during the third Covid-19 lockdown, when indoor socialising was banned with people outside of your household or bubble.

Advisers and civil servants reportedly gathered for the leaving parties just hours before the Queen was pictured sitting alone at the Duke of Edinburgh’s service in St George’s Chapel.

Boris Johnson was away from Downing Street at the time of the event, but is facing calls to apologise to the Queen and resign as prime minister.

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When was Prince Philip’s funeral?

The duke died on Friday 9 April 2021, and his funeral was held just over a week later, on Saturday 17 April.

He was 99 at the time, and just two months away from his 100th birthday.

The event was held within the grounds of Windsor Castle to avoid crowds, but was televised to the nation.

What were the Covid rules at the time?

The funeral happened during stage two of the third national lockdown, meaning it had to be socially distanced and was only attended by 30 people.

The Queen was forced to sit alone during the service.

Up to six people or two families could meet outside at the time, and indoor mixing with anyone outside of your household or support bubble was banned.

What happened at the Downing Street parties?

Two parties were reportedly held at Downing Street on the night of 16 April.

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The leaving bashes were for James Slack, Mr Johnson’s director of communications, and one of the Prime Minister’s personal photographers, The Telegraph reports.

The two gatherings were reportedly held in different parts of the complex before joining together as the night wore on into the early hours.

What are the other allegations facing No10?

The Government has already been accused of nine gatherings in breach of lockdown rules, with the latest allegations taking the total tally to 11.

  • 15 May 2020: Mr Johnson has been pictured sitting in the No 10 garden with about 20 civil servants and Tory aides for wine and pizza
  • 20 May 2020: The alleged “Bring your own booze” party in the garden of No 10 involved between 30 and 40 attendees
  • 13 November 2020: Former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has claimed that Boris Johnson and wife Carrie held a party at their Downing Street flat
  • 25 November 2020: Treasury staff are said to have hosted a soirée at the office around the time of the Autumn Spending Review. The Times reported that about two dozen civil servants were present
  • 27 November 2020: The Prime Minister allegedly gave a speech at a leaving do for senior aide Cleo Watson in 10 Downing Street
  • 10 December: At least two dozen people are alleged to have attended a Christmas party at the Department of Education, when indoor socialising was banned in the capital
  • 14 December 2020: Around 25 Tories allegedly gathered in the basement of the Conservative headquarters. The event was organised by Shaun Bailey’s team during his bid for Mayor of London but included No 10 aides, reports claim
  • 15 December 2020: A Christmas quiz hosted at Downing Street, with a picture showing Mr Johnson playing quiz master while sat in the middle of two colleagues
  • 18 December 2020: Between 40 and 50 people are claimed to have attended a Christmas Party in Downing Street. No 10 officials were filmed joking about the party in a mock press conference, prompting the resignation from her Government role of Allegra Stratton, who had been press secretary at the time
  • 16 April 2021: Two Downing Street leaving parties allegedly take place, later merging into one gathering. One staffer is reportedly DJing while another is sent out with a suitcase to buy wine

A staff member was allegedly sent out with suitcase to buy wine from a supermarket on the Strand, by Charing Cross station.

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Shelley Williams-Walker, Mr Johnson’s head of operations, was allegedly in charge of the music. She was nicknamed “DJ SWW” for her initials, one partygoer told the newspaper.

Mr Slack, now the deputy editor of The Sun, this morning offered his “unreserved” apology for the “hurt and anger” caused by the event.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tweeted on Thursday evening: “The Queen sat alone in mourning like so many did at the time with personal trauma and sacrifice to keep to the rules in the national interest.

“I have no words for the culture and behaviours at number 10 and the buck stops with the PM.”

The former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said she could not understand how “anyone thought of this was OK”.

“Dozens of people in the basement with a DJ, dancing and a suitcase full of booze? I still can’t conceive how anyone – anyone – thought any of this was OK,” she tweeted.

“Especially when the rest of the country was doing their damndest to play by the rules, often at great personal cost.”

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This is interesting!