Boris Johnson's Former Comms Director Apologises Over No 10 Party In His Honour
3 min read
Boris Johnson’s former communications director, James Slack, has apologised “unreservedly” for the “anger and hurt” he caused by attending a Downing Street leaving party, held in his honour last year.
On Thursday The Telegraph reported that a boozy party took place in the Number 10 basement on 16 April, the evening before the Queen attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral and sat alone to comply with government Covid regulations.
Restrictions in place at the time prohibited indoor social gatherings with anyone outside of your household.
“I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused,” Slack said in a statement on Friday morning.
“This event should not have happened at the time that it did.”
“I am deeply sorry and take full responsibility.”
Slack added that the party in question has been referred to civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry, which is currently investigating a string of alleged lockdown-breaching parties that took place across Downing Street and Whitehall.
The findings of the inquiry are due to be published by the end of the month but could be released as early as next week.
A second leaving do, for a Downing Street photographer, is also alleged to have taken place on 16 April, with staff reportedly drinking into the early hours of the morning.
One attendee is said to have broken a swing belonging to the Prime Minister’s young son Wilf Johnson as the party reportedly spilled out into the Number 10 garden.
Responding to the news of a further two parties taking place in Downing Street while Britain was in lockdown, security minister Damian Hinds told Sky News he was “shocked”.
“This was a particularly sombre moment,” Hinds said, referring to the period of national mourning following the Duke of Edinburgh's death.
“I myself was shocked to read these allegations this morning,” he added.
“If the details in this story turn out to be true then clearly people are going to form their judgement.
“If allegations are found to be true of individuals appeared to have been guilty of wrongdoing then action can be taken.”
But the minister insisted that he is “not in a position to comment further” on the matter.
“It’s not that I’m keeping something from you,” he told Sky News’s Niall Paterson.
“I don’t know because I wasn’t there, and it is important that we don’t just operate off a news story.”
Responding to news of the leaving do held for Slack, a spokesperson for Number 10 said: “On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done, both those who had to be in the office and on a screen for those working from home.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe