Boris Johnson’s former aide James Slack apologises for ‘anger and hurt’ caused by No 10 party – live

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Latest updates: PM’s former head of communications says he cannot comment further as calls grow for Johnson to resign.


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The revelations in The Telegraph (paywall) last night are set to heap yet more pressure on the prime minister, who is facing calls to resign, including from some of his own MPs, after admitting earlier this week that he took part in an event in the No 10 garden in May 2020, during the first Covid lockdown.

The reports were met with fury across the political spectrum as more Tory MPs called for Boris Johnson to be deposed as leader.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner wrote on Twitter:

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

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, tweeted:

Whilst she [the Queen] mourned, Number 10 partied. Johnson must go.

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The Queen, in mourning black, wearing a face mask and sitting apart from the rest of her family, at her husband’s funeral, became one of the defining images of England’s national lockdown. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/AP


In case you missed it (!), last night The Telegraph (paywall) published reports that staff inside No 10 held two staff leaving dos featuring alcohol, and one with loud music, on the evening before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral in April last year.

Eyewitnesses told the paper a combined total of about 30 people took part in what appeared to be social events in different parts of Downing Street, before both gatherings combined in the garden.

According to one attender, a staff member was sent with a suitcase to the Co-op on the Strand, a short walk away, returning with the case filled with bottles of wine.

Boris Johnson was not at Downing Street that evening, having gone to Chequers, the prime ministerial country retreat, on the Thursday evening and remaining into the weekend.

At the time, England was in stage two of the government’s gradual relaxation from lockdown. Up to six people or two families could meet outside, while indoors, people could only socialise with their household or support bubble.

One of the events at No 10 marked the departure from government of James Slack, who was the prime minister’s official spokesperson under both Theresa May and Johnson, before becoming Johnson’s director of communications, according to the Telegraph. He is now deputy editor of the Sun.

The other was for one of Johnson’s personal photographers, the paper reported. Witnesses told the Telegraph that the event to mark the photographer’s departure mainly took place in the basement area of No 10, with loud music playing.

Both groups reportedly moved outside around midnight, with drinking carrying on into the early hours of the morning. While in the garden one attender broke a swing belonging to Johnson’s infant son, Wilfred, a witness told the paper.

More on that story here: Two Downing Street parties held evening before Prince Philip’s funeral – reports

Related: Two Downing Street parties held evening before Prince Philip’s funeral – reports


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