No 10 staff ‘partied to 1am’ on eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral

Takeaway pizzas were ordered in during the seven-hour drinking session, according to The Daily Telegraph

Gavin Cordon
Friday 21 January 2022 18:27
A protestor in Parliament Square demonstrating against Downing St parties (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A protestor in Parliament Square demonstrating against Downing St parties (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

No 10 staff partied until the early hours of the morning in a seven-hour drinking session on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, it has been reported.

The Daily Telegraph said it had obtained further details of the two leaving dos on April 16 last year, showing they carried on until 1am.

Wine and spirits with mixers were said to have been served in disposable plastic cups, and at one point alcohol was reportedly spilled on an office printer.

Takeaway pizzas were reported to have been ordered in and some of the revellers were said to have used a slide belonging to Mr Johnson’s son, Wilfred.

The Queen sits alone at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh (Jonathan Brady/PA)

It has previously been reported that Wilfred’s swing was damaged as the two events merged in the Downing Street garden.

Downing Street apologised to Buckingham Palace when the details of the parties first emerged last week, while Mr Johnson – who was not present – said he “deeply and bitterly” regretted what happened.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner described the latest reports as “disgusting”.

“Shameful details of ridiculous behaviour, when the British public gave up so much,” she tweeted.

“This is a culture that Boris Johnson set. Rules didn’t apply in his Downing Street. He needs to finally take responsibility.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the latest reports are ‘shameful’ (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Around 30 people were reported to have attended the two parties – one for departing communications director James Slack and the other for a photographer who was leaving.

At the time the country was in a period of national mourning for the duke, while Covid restrictions banned socialising indoors except with members of the same household or support bubble.

The Telegraph said that it had seen a photograph of staff at one of the parties – some with drinks – gathered in the Downing Street basement.

The paper said that it had also seen text messages indicating that they were still carrying on at 1am, having started around 6pm.

The latest report comes as Sue Gray, the senior civil servant investigating lockdown parties in Whitehall, is expected to deliver her report next week.

Mr Johnson has committed to publish her findings and make a statement to the Commons.

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